Sucker punch on the home-stretch
There are losses, one can take pretty easy, because the team gave all they had but the opponent proved to be a bit too strong for us on that particular day. The loss against Leverkusen in last season’s opening match could be named as an example for that. Also losing an unimportant match (of course there are hardly any unimportant matches involving Borussia Dortmund) does not hurt too much. Think back to the defeat at Bremen one week after the championship was secured. The defeat at Hanover was no such loss. This one hurt. A lot. And it still hurts now only to think back to those crucial two minutes that turned a match over that seemed to be already bagged.
We were the better team by any standard and should have decided it before the halftime. Borussia had to replace the central midfield of the Arsenal match because skip Kehl is still suspended after attacking the 4th official in Leverkusen and Bender is out with a muscle injury. Klopp opted for Gündogan and da Silva, both players that can handle the ball well but with rather doubtful skills when it comes to conquering it. Our offensive wingers were replaced as well. Kuba stepped in for the suspended Götze and Persisic finally got his much demanded debut in the starting 11, which put Kevin “Dortmunder Jung” Großkreutz onto the bench. At first it seemed, that Klopp had taken all the right choices. Gündogan and da Silva organised the attacks and especially the Brazilian veteran showed a good defensive effort as well. One could almost forget that the irreplaceable ball-winning machine Bender was missing. And Perisic showed that he is a threat to any defence. Even Kuba, out of shape since months, brought some usable crosses into the Hanover box.
Borussia played well and the hosts did not get to start any of their much feared blitz attacks. But once more our team was far too generous with the scoring opportunities. Yes we do miss our best striker so far this season but it is frightening how harmless the young-guns are in front of the net. Lewandowski mishandled lots of promising passes and Kagawa seems to be thinking too much on the pitch since returning from his injury. His biggest strength last season was that he instantly tried to shoot from any possible position and more than often successfully so, but now he often twists and turns until the chance to finish has passed. Perisic seemed to be the only one that was eager to score.
Hanover had but one proper attack in the first half. After almost half an hour was played, a Dortmund corner lead to a Hanover counter. Stoppelkamp set it up nicely for Ya Konan who was denied by Weidenfeller. But he only managed to defend the shot forwards where the ball got back to Stoppelkamp. On this occasion an alert Neven Subotic prevented further damage. It’s a shame that he lost his concentration later in the match. The biggest chance for Borussia in the 1st 45 minutes had probably the goal allergic Kuba. A wide pass by Hummels found him totally open in front of Zieler. Even though the ball was hard to control he should have come up with something better than the attempted lob he produced. Zieler had no problem at all to save the draw for his team.
While the home fans whistled their team off the pitch, the roundabout 10.000 Borussia supporters in Hanover were quite pleased with their team’s performance, if it wasn’t for that finishing touch. We dominated one of the better Bundesliga sides and it seemed as if the late equalizer against Arsenal had turned our fate to the better. This impression lasted throughout most of the 2nd half as well. Klopp replaced the injured Schmelzer with Löwe. “I fell onto my back early in the game and as a result of that my hamstring tightened completely. I could not continue but I hope that’s nothing major” Schmelzer explained after the match.
Dortmund continued to push, but also continued to waste chances. And then there was that moment, when the old Kagawa seemed to be back. He twisted around Pogatetz, protected the ball from Haggui and gave Zieler no chance to save his shot. Finally his first goal of the season and you could feel the relief this goal ment to him. Lewandowski received a black eye in the making of that goal, but he could continue play after some treatment. Nonetheless Klopp took him off a couple of minutes later and brought on Großkreutz. Perisic moved up front, only to produce further evidence on how dearly we miss Lucas Barrios. Central striker does not seem to really suit the Croat. Five minutes on the pitch, Großkreutz had to seal the deal for BVB. Kuba with a great delivery from the side and Kevin was wide open. For whatever reason, the left-footed Großkreutz tried to convert the ball with his right foot and missed the empty net.
That seemed to be a sign to both teams. Hanover remembered that it is hard to score without even trying and Borussia jus called it a day. The formerly well organised Gündogan and da Silva fell totally apart. Hanover cut through our midfield like a hot knife through butter. A first big one was wasted by Stindel, but that woke nobody in yellow up. Next Haggui put a header onto the crossbar, still no alarm-signal for our defence. Then, defensive ringleader Mats Hummels, who had won all his direct duels so far in the match, had to quit play with muscular problems. That was crucial. Santana replaced him and the defence, that had looked shaky already, now turned into surrender mode. Neven Subotic seemed most affected by the loss of his partner. Hanover got corner after corner and everybody knows that Christian “funky pee” Pander is not the worst when it comes to set-pieces. Three minutes before the end all foreshadows were validated. Subotic lost trace of Haggui and this time he brought the header onto the goal. It could have been prevented still by Chris Löwe, who was standing on the line but he pulled his head out of the way and let it in. That’s a disgrace for a Bundesliga player.
Only two minutes later, all was lost. Dortmund handed the ball over to Hanover directly after the kick-off. The ball got to Ya Konan, Subotic stumbled and Ya Konan made the best of the room he was given. He shot the ball into the low left corner of the goal from 17 metres. No chance for Weidenfeller. What had already looked like three well deserved points and the first away win in months turned into a bitter defeat. In stoppage time Sobiech tried to injure da Silva for no obvious reason and got sent off. That could of course not help us anymore and to top the stomach ache ref Gagelmann blew the final whistle right into a promising looking Dortmund attack and did not add the time it took to convince Sobiech he had to go to the stoppage time. If anybody believed the last season could be repeated, he should be woken up by now. Next weekend brings another away match at the struggling FSV Mainz and if we don’t want to start looking to the back end of the table, we must bring something home from there. Time to grow up, young-guns!
Hanover: Zieler - Chahed (81. Rausch), Haggui, Pogatetz, Pander - Schmiedebach, Hauger (64. Pinto) - Stoppelkamp, Stindl - Schlaudraff (84. Sobiech), Ya Konan
BVB: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels (81. Felipe Santana), Schmelzer (46. Löwe) - da Silva, Gündogan - Blaszczykowski, Kagawa, Perisic - Lewandowski (66. Großkreutz)
Goals: 0:1 Kagawa (63.), 1:1 Haggui (87.), 2:1 Ya Konan (89.)
Ref: Gagelmann (Bremen)
Attendance: 49 000 (sold out)
Booked: Pander (1) / ---
Sent off: Sobiech (90.+1/attack from behind)