Point in Leverkusen but oh dear, oh dear...
Welcome to the fourth matchday of the Bundesliga season. And for those who looked at the schedule after this game, wondering whether it has been derbyday already, let me tell you, no it hasn't. But it surely felt like it. At least that's what I was thinking from about the 70. minute onwards. A referee, who was clearly overchallanged, an opponent who was quite strong and eager, and Dortmunder Jungs who were way too hectic, unprecise in their game and somewhat lost. If you mix all of this together, you get total chaos around 20 minutes before the game was over. But let's start at the beginning.
Before the game
Even though Götze was in question during the week due to some minor injuries, he was able to play against Leverkusen, and so Dortmund was able to present the same team as last week against Nürnberg. And while Leverkusen's stadium only contains capacity for around 30 000 people (which isn't a lot), it is impressive to see that apperently no too many people want edto see Leverkusen play since there were around 7000 BVB fans present in the stadium. Incredible, as usually.
While it first seemd like Dortmund was very eager in the first five minutes, we were proved wrong after only six minutes of the game. Our left back Marcel Schmelzer seemed to be half asleep when Leverkusen's first attack onto our goal took place. Suddenly Andre Schürrle appeared totally unguarded in front of Roman Weidenfeller who did what a great goalkeeper should do. He threw himself in front of Schürrle, blocking the ball with his face. By this time, every Dortmundfan was wide awake now. This didn't go as we had hoped it would go. Leverkusen presented themselves way more eager, calm, their game seemed more elaborate, while our boys were too hectic, too chaotic, too unconcentrated, it wasn't really going well in the first half of the game. Dortmund's attempts to be dangerous usually ended around the penalty area.
On the other side a free kick by Leverkusen offered Simon Rolfes the chance of a header which went over the goal. In the 24th minute of the game another shock moment for our fans. While Dortmund showed that they had rather big deficits when it came to freekicks, cornerkicks and such, Leverkusen showed how to do it correctly. A free kick from the left side of the pitch went straight and sharp into our penalty area where Reinartz headed the ball straight into the direction of our goal. Only another amazing save by our keeper Weidenfeller secured our so far hard fought point in Leverkusen. It wasn't our game. Another attempt by Mario Götze in the 42. minute of the game resulted in a yellow card for Leverkusen's Kadlec which shouldn't be uninteresting for the second half of the game. But like I mentioned before, free kicks were not our strength in this game and so the following free kick vanished into nothing. Time for a break. Referee Stark whistled and Leverkusen's Augusto was not too happy about it. Another yellow card followed.
The summary of the first half? This was not enough. They boys ran and they fought, it wasn't their attitude that got me worried. However, the unconcentrated ways of playing a pass which landed in front of an opposite player's feet, or the hectic and chaotic way of running with the ball, it all seemed like our boys were intimidated. Leverkusen had two big chances which Weidenfeller saved perfectly. Other than that the game seemed rather even, with advantages on Leverkusen's side. As for our boys, Großkreutz, Schmelzer, Kagawa and Lewandowski didn't really catch their best day. It was difficult to get some order into the game when almost the whole offense didn't take place.
Well, not a lot changed at the beginning of the second half. Leverkusen was still stronger, still more sorted, Dortmund was running behind. It took 53 minutes until Kagawa shot on the goal for the first time. Actually the first minor chance for our BVB during the whole game. Then in the 61. minute of the game a move that resembled the Borussia that we have come to love so much during the last season. A wonderful combination by Kagawa and Lewandowski almost resulted in a 1:0 for us. Kagawa danced through a couple of Leverkusen's players, then played a pass onto Lewandowski while still running up front. Lewandowski then used his heel in order to forward the ball to Kagawa who was now in Leverkusen's penalty area but unfortunately he couldn't get complete control over the ball and Leverkusen's keeper Leno grabbed the ball. Still, great move by our players and suddenly there was hope that there might be more to follow from where this came from.
Shortly after that our Coach took the rather weak Großkreutz off the pitch and gave Perisic the chance to prove himself. Subsequently followed the first moment in doubt for referee Starke. He apparently saw a foul from Hummels on Leverkusen's player Augusto. The precarious thing about this? Hummels had already seen a yellow card in the first half of the game. So if referee Stark decides on a foul from Hummels, the logical consequence to this would have been another yellow card for Hummels and therefore a red card. Nothing like this happened. It wasn't a foul anyway. Hummels withdrew his legs and Augusto wanted this freekick after putting the ball to far up front. However, if referee Stark decides on a foul, he must give Hummels a yellow/red card. Of course we were lucky that he didn't, but this should only be the beginning of doubtful decisions from his side.
Soon to follow was some kind of chaos. Only a minute after this freekick our Mario Götze got the ball close to the benches of the coaches. Suddenly Kadlec was approaching from behind in a rather rude way. He straddled Götze off his feet straight from the back. What I was wondering in this moment is, if you already have a yellow card, why in the world would you attack a player like this? Why would you ever attack a player like this and risk a serious injury for the player? Referee Stark did the only thing that was right (this time) and didn't give Kadlec a second yellow card but a red one straight away. Now our time had come. We are now writing the story of the 67th minute of the game. After a nice pass from Piszczek onto Götze, Götze played a wonderful cross into the middle of the penalty area where our new player Perisic was waiting. Now we have seen this before, Perisic being incredibly close to scoring a goal. I am quite sure that his moment will come soon. This time an amazing ball came into the middle of the penalty area and Perisic took the ball volley and hammered it onto the goal. Unfortunately Leverkusen's keeper Leno had a great day just like our Weidenfeller had in the first half of the game. He saved the ball that pretty much everyone had already seen inside the goal. Tough luck.
The tumultuous moments of the game began. After a nice pass from Gündogan into the penalty area, Götze tried to get the ball but Leverkusen's Leno was faster. Götze then crashed into Leno and got a yellow card for this...well...attack. Nobody really saw a mean purpose behind this but Stark decided that a yellow card was appropriate. Who knows why. It shouldn't be the last time we would be disbelieving about his decisions. In the 76. minute it was seriously time for our 1:0. A lot of chaos in Leverkusen's penalty area. First Götze didn't hit the ball properly, then Kagawa tried to shoot it onto Leverkusen's goal. But again Leno had his hand in there and the ball wobbled into the direction of the goal line but a meter before it hit the goal one of Leverkusen's players shot it away. Oh dear. We were so close to scoring a goal, the anxiety was almost painful. It was still 15 minutes to go. 15 minutes to score while Leverkusen was one player short. You would think. Not so. A minute after this huge chance came the moment of referee Stark. What had happened? From the viewer's perspective it looked like a normal duel between Götze and Balitsch. Both stumbled a bit but nothing more than that. No arguments, nothing. And suddenly Mr. Stark pulls out a red card. For what? And for whom everyone was asking. Well, the answer is simple. For Mario Götze. Why? Well, it is difficult to explain what exactly had happened. Let's put it this way. After looking at around 50 videos of this scene, it is still not clear. Even for the tv commentators and journalists it was not a clear decision of a terrible wrong. Götze and Balitsch had tangled their legs a big and Götze let go of a slight kick in order to cut his leg loose. Referee Stark decided that this kick was caused by mean intentions and gave Götze a red card. Even Balitsch, the apparent victim of the foul went to referee Stark in order to tell him that there is no need for a red card. He, by the way, got a yellow card for doing so. Even in interviews afterwards Balitsch confirmed that he still has no idea what the fuss was about and why Stark had decided that Mario Götze did anything wrong. Very nice move by Balitsch. It takes some charakter to do so. Furthermore, Mario Götzehad also spit on the ground after the duel. Another reason for Stark to look at Mario Götze as an evil, destructive player. I am a woman, but seriously, spitting on the ground from a football player during the game? Even I had to laugh at this one. And so the game continued 10 against 10.
To make a long story short. We got another free kick, we scored. Hummels scored. But the goal didn't count because Stark hadn't set the freekick free yet. Then a lot of more turbulance at the sideline. Kehl wanted to come in, the fourth referee had no time to deal with it, additional time? What is that? 30 seconds was the answer to that. All in all, a ridiculous ending.
Well, where to start? The 0:0 sounds a lot less exciting than it actually was. We had chances to score, especially during the time when Leverkusen had only 10 players left on the pitch. All in all, however, a point for each team sounds like a fair share. Leverkusen was clearly stronger during the first half of the game, while Dortmund got better during the second half. Now we are facing the Nationalteam break and a few questions. How long will Mario Götze actually have to sit out? And why in the world do our players suck when it comes to freekicks, penalty kicks and corner kicks? Could you please practise some of that in the future? It would be highly appreciated. Keep your heads up boys. A draw in Leverkusen is not a bad thing.
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno, Castro, Toprak, Reinartz, Kadlec, L. Bender, Rolfes, Renato Augusto (69. Balitsch), Schürrle, Kießling, Sam
BVB: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer, S. Bender, Gündogan, Götze, Kagawa (81. Kuba), Großkreutz (63. Perisic), Lewandowski
Referee: Wolfgang Stark
Yellow cards: Kadlec, Renato Augusto, Balitsch - Hummels, Götze
Red cards: Kadlec (64.) - Götze (77.)
Viewers: 30.120 (sold out)