There we go!
“There are no failures - just experiences and your reactions to them.”
In the last few weeks the printing press of Germany regarded "experience" as one major point for discussion when reporting about Borussia Dortmund and the results of the current Champions League season 2011/2012. Especially me was one of those persons who hardly criticized experience as a reason for success. In my opinion the last Bundesliga season proved that even young, restless and high motivated football players can achieve great triumphs without 500 competitive match performances. Last evening proved me wrong, at least for the Champions League. But all in its proper time.
Badass Sven "Manni" Bender was not able to play due to a numbness in his left ankle. Instead of the Bavarian coach Juergen Klopp trusted in the eighteen-year-old Moritz Leitner – it turned out to be a lucky pull. In addition to this change Kevin Großkreutz replaced Japanese Shinji Kagawa who switched to the substitute's bench. In another way no one really expected, Klopp changed the 4-2-3-1 formation into a 4-3-3 that would transform into an 4-5-1 when the opponent is in posession of the ball. Next to skipper Sebastian Kehl and youngster Moritz Leitner, jewel Mario Goetze also acted as defensive midfielder.
In opposition to the team that defeated Borussia in Greek, Olympiacos Piraeus changed its team on two positions. Especially the substitution of goalkeeper Megyeri who replaced Constanzo rocked the boat. Furthermore Fejsa replaced Makoun.
Borussia Dortmund was concentrated from the first second and caught the Greeks napping. Only 3 minutes were played when a throw-in of Piszczek found Großkreutz on the right side of the box. Over Großkreutz the ball found Mario Goetze who passed in behind of the Greek defense. Unfortunately Ivan Perisic shot in a supine position and fired wide. But the young guns and the stadium were there!
This explosive beginning found its peak in minute 7. Once more it was Mario Goetze who engaged attention of three defenders on the left wing. With a clever pass he found Kevin Großkreutz who fired with a one timer from 22 meters and let the stunned Megyeri no chance. 1-0 Borussia. What a goal!
After that Borussia concentrated on the task that was given by Juergen Klopp: Scrupulous defense! Nevertheless several inattentive actions of our defense caused scoring opportunities for the Greek. Furtunately Djebbour as well as Holebas could be stopped by Roman Weidenfeller. One point of criticism concerning the first half was the left whing of Marcel Schmelzer who once more acted ponderous after his injury lay-off. He probably just needs to pick up more match practice.
In minute 29 the Greeks had a huge scoring opportunity after a free kick that was caused by a really dumb foul of Ivan Perisic on the left side of our box. Roman Weidenfeller looked really bad against Mirallas who headed the ball into the front of our goal – fortunately Modesto was too surprised to score.
And as if this was not enough Roman Weidenfeller once more showed his insecurity when he queered a corner by Holebas shortly before the halftime whistle (minute 43). Mellbergs header passed the left post closely. As things turned out after watching the replay, no one could have complained if the referee gave a penatly to Olympiacos. International Mats Hummels touched the ball with his left hand.
Halftime. Take a deep breath.
Different as every supporter hoped, Olympiacous Piraeus applied a lot of pressure on the defense of Borussia after the restart. A massive defensive battle in Black and Yellow started.
In minute 49 Holebas had way too much space on the left wing and fired from out of the box. Roman Weidenfeller punched the ball away and risked his skin.
Moritz Leitner, who showed a promising performance, became the focus of attention after 49 absolved minutes. He snarfed the ball from Mario Goetze on the left wing and fired a cheeky shot that was saved by Megyeri without any problems.
Until minute 60 the match was characterized by „Kick and Rush“. Both teams wore themselves out in tackles in the middle of the pitch. The hard-fought match could have been decided by Polish striker Robert Lewandowski who only hit the post. Jose Holebas played a miserable return pass to his goalkeeper Megyeri. Lewandowski intertercepted the ball and tried to score from the left side of the box. In his defence: The angle was really sharp and Lewandowski has great regard for not searching the contact with Megyeri after he passed him by. Some will say it was unclever, I say that it is the style of play I expect from a guy in Black and Yellow.
Afterwards nothing worth mentioning happened. Holebas missed the ball with a header in minute 64. Until the final whistle every player of Borussia Dortmund fought for the win that was reached after a shaky closing phase.
It was a tough match for Borussia but the young team accepted the hard-fought style of play without any great highlights. Olympiacos Piraeus matched Borussia Dortmund. Generally I have to admit that I underestimated the Greeks. They showed that they are born fighters and did not accept the loss until the referee closed the match. The unexpected style of play of Borussia was not eye candy but it seems like you have to act that dirty in the Champions League to be successful. Instead of working defensive problems out in a beautiful boy, our defense did not feel abashed to clear the ball out of dangerous areas scrupulous. The train for the interphase has probably left the station but still this result should lift the team. We even can win international matches and that is what counts!
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Piszczek, Hummels, Subotic, Schmelzer – Kehl, Leitner, Götze – Perisic, Großkreutz – Lewandowski
Substitute's Bench: Langerak, Santana, Kuba, Guendogan, Kagawa, Loewe, Barrios
Coach: Juergen Klopp
Substitutions: 66. Kagawa in – Goetze out, 76. Kuba in – Perisic out, 86. Santana in – Leitner out
Olympiacos Piraeus: Megyeri – Modesto, Mellberg, Papadopoulos, Marcano – Orbaiz, Fejsa – Holebas, Ibagaza, Mirallas – Djebbour
Substitute's Bench: Constanzo, Makoun, Abdoun, Pantelic
Substitutions: 59. Makoun in – Fejsa out, 67. Abdoun in – Marcano out, 79. Pantelic in – Ibagaza out
Bookings: Mellberg, Papadopoulos, Orbaiz
Referee: Vladislav Bezborodov (Russia)
Attendance: 65,590 (sold out)