Ice skating to the semi-final
Out in the cold, again! After last Friday's match against Nuremberg, this time the freezer was the Northern-German city Kiel. And this one, the quarter-final of the German DFB cup, was even more promising: The tiny club Holstein Kiel usually plays in the 4th division. Then, the miracle happened and they beat Mainz in the round of sixteen. Tiny as the club is, their stadium is as well – and doesn't have an undersoil heating system. Considering a temperature of -5°C (23° Fahrenheit), this means the ground was going to be frozen. Question of the day: Is a match on a rock-hard pitch really that much fun?
Nevertheless – our boys brought their indoor shoes to have at least a small chance to play football on the ice rink of Kiel. Let's start out by saying that the adverse conditions influenced the game a lot. The kind of beautiful football that our boys love to play was almost impossible to perform. Positive aspect of the icy conditions: It was a fair match; nobody was booked by referee Felix Zwayer. Well...ice dancing instead of quarter-final fight!
The class difference between both teams was very obvious from the beginning on. It was a good decision of our Borussia, though, not to rely on the certainty of being the stronger team playing in the first division but to stay concentrated and attentive. Then, Kiel was the team that had the first big chance to score in the 8th minute. Striker Heider failed; our goalie Mitch Langerak had one of the few opportunities to move and warm up a bit. Three minutes later, Kiel's dream of moving to the semi-final started to fade: After Perišic's volley towards the goal, Lewandowski used the ball to kick it into the right corner. 11th minute, Borussia gains the lead.
Even though Kiel tried its best and concentrated more on their offensive actions, there was no chance for the club from 4th division against a well organized German champion. Our boys in black and yellow meanwhile had decided that the first goal against Nuremberg on Friday was so beautiful that one could try to copy it. No sooner thought than done: This time, it was Kehl who crossed to Piszczek diagonally who himself played the ball towards Kagawa. Shinji, 18th minute, 0:2 lead for Borussia.
The storks of Kiel, as they like to call themselves, were still backed by their 10.000 (over-) excited supporters, hung in there and found their way in front of our goal twice. Langerak warded off Lindner's shot in minute 21; Piszczek channeled Heider's cross towards the side netting (28.). Even if Kagawa (22.) and Perišic (35.) failed to take advantage of their chances - the first half was an unagitated one, and after a rather innocent free kick of Holstein Kiel one took leave of an uncomfortable pitch, having two comfortable goals in our pocket.
The later the evening, the harder the soil. This could be one of the lessons learned from yesterday's game. The second half of this quarter-final can't really be called beautiful, even less than the first one. But then, it was a good thing that our boys tried to spare themselves as much as possible. The risk of injury was incredibly high on the icy ground, so that none of the players fought with the energy they'd usually put into tackles. Also, bringing the ball in front of the goal wasn't that easy due to the fact that even fast running wasn't really possible because of the soil conditions. So there wasn't much happening in the first round of the second half; the players of Kiel couldn't get past Mats & Co., and the first real chance on our side – Kagawa again - was spoiled only in minute 74.
As a result of slight boredom (Yes! We're still talking about the DFB cup quarter-final.), we now come to the side shows: It is not possible to tell whether it was due to the brass-monkey weather/the bone-chilling cold, alcohol, the failure of Kiel in the match or maybe just everything mixed up together, but some of the funnier supporters of Kiel started chanting this wonderful, well-known song again that calls our team "Hurensöhne" - "sons of bitches". Very nice! Fortunately most of the attentands decided to sing a more friendly alternative, mocking a third, not involved party – the Sports Club of Hamburg that we had defeated 5:1 in the first game of this year. Instead of getting into troubles with the supporters in black and yellow in the stadium, Kiel's supporters were now singing "Wir sind besser als der HSV!" ("We're better than Hamburg!"). At least.
But enough said about singing supporters. After all, concentration is back on the game and there were indeed two very nice goals by our Borussia to witness. In the 69th minute, Kevin Großkreutz and Lucas Barrios replaced Kuba and Robert Lewandowski. The end of half two shows us: La Pantera is back! Lucas Barrios stays in Germany, stays with the BVB und scores again. 80th minute, 0:3 for our Borussia. Even more cheering because Lucas scored in the second game in a row. The completion of this quarter-final that we had somehow get used to was the goal of Ivan Perišic – an indirect free kick seven meters from the goal after a return pass. Kiel's not very organized wall left the left corner of the goal wide open, Ivan took his chance and banged the ball into exactly that corner. 87th minute, 0:4 final score for Borussia. Semi-final! And we're sure that the semi is not the end...Who's next?
After the game
Even though coach Jürgen Klopp could have been very content with the result of the match, he used every interview after the game to vent his anger (and yes, we all know this can take a while): The pitch was an imposition, he said; he was really glad that none of the players suffered major injuries. He emphasized that of course he wished clubs form the 3rd and 4th division to play in the finals of the DFB cup, but Klopp also pointed out that the DFB has to make sure that there is an undersoil heating system at the venue. Under normal circumstances, the game would have been cancelled. His conclusion: You don't play icehockey on grass just because there is no scating rink. Our conclusion: Agree!
Goals: 0:1 Robert Lewandowski (11.), 0:2 Kagawa (18.), 0:3 Lucas Barrios (80.), 0:4 Ivan Perišic (87.)
Borussia Dortmund: Langerak - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Leitner, Kehl - Kuba (69. Großkreutz), Kagawa (82. Gündogan), Perišic - Lewandowski (69. Barrios)
Coach: Jürgen Klopp
Holstein Kiel: Jensen – Herrmann, Berzel, Jürgensen, Poggenberg – Kazior, S. Müller – Chahed (81. Sachs), Sykora, Lindner (85. Wetter) - Heider (83. Wulff)
Coach: Thorsten Gutzeit