Dortmund is restless
Just another team from the league with no intentions? No worries: Werder Bremen wants to stay alive. Werder Bremen is heading for Europe and needs to collect points. Their journey takes them to the world's best stadium this weekend. Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen is the highlight game of match day 26. Bremen runs into the Blacknyellow, who are unbeaten in 19 league games in a row and just about to head for yet another club record with everything but a Bremen win this weekenend. The Blacknyellows run the board, leading the Bayern by five points with nine games to be played. Still: Dortmund is restless.
Nothing much happened last week. BVB dropped points in Augsburg, partly lacking concentration, still fighting for their lives. Bayern hammered lousy Hoffenheim 7-1 and ate away two of seven points. A draw away, even to Augsburg, who have put on some outstanding performances, losing only one of their last seven league matches, happens to the best teams in the world. You can ask Messi about that. And nobody ever said that Bayern had a piss poor team, they ARE able to score seven goals but so they are able to drop points in Freiburg. Success however changes attitude. And that's what has slowly happenend with the Dortmund fans recently, if you had a look around the Dortmund forums this week.
Only seven years ago Borussia avoided bankcruptcy on a gloomy day in Düsseldorf. And some four years ago I was travelling on the very same train. I was about to move to Dortmund, mainly because I wanted to be closer to Borussia. Travelling on that train I wrote my first pre-match report for schwatzgelb.com. Borussia faced Bremen and Thomas Doll was in charge. I believe we won that match but played a disastrous season, showcasted on what happens to a club living in the past. Under Jürgen Klopp things have obviously changed. Living in the here and now and quite enjoying it. Not exclusively because we are still in the race for the double this season, not exclusively because we are the title holders, mainly because of the way we play. Mainly because of the Borussia feeling. On match days. Even in a town, far away from Dortmund. There is a Borussia bar in every town. And in every single bar in every single town in Germany, you meet people with great stories on how and why and when they became a Borusse. And frankly: They love to see Borussia win, they love to celebrate titles but they will also be their when things don't end up the way we hope them to end.
Things needed to be said after frustrating discussions this week. But now. Let's focus on the match ahead. With no players injured (but slowly recovering Mario Götze) it will be interesting to see which team Jürgen Klopp is going to field. Will he rest Lewandowski, who during the week made over a the headlines for rejecting Borussia's first contract offer, will he replace Dortmund boy Großkreutz with Ivan Perisic? Perisic, as Lewandowski, during the week said „he dies on the bench when Borussia scores“. But a Perisic has a million lives and it also took Lewandowski a year to get into the team. One of the moaning players back in autumn 2011 now leads Borussia offense. Kuba, who for the first time in his Dortmund career, has been showing his talent over more than just a handful matches, has proven that talk plus action equals points. And Jürgen Klopp will stick to the players he fielded against Augsburg.
But what about Bremen? What about Bremen's attack? „It does not make things easier for us“, says Klopp about Pizarro's two match suspension and adds „we love to compete against the best players and it will also not make it easier for us to prepare for the match.“ Bremen's attack will not only be missing Pizarro, but also Marko Arnautovic (injured while playing with his dog), Marin (hamstring) and Hunt. Only Rosenberg is fit to play. Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf now ponders the idea of changing the system to the common 4-2-3-1. „Everything is possible“, says Schaaf and asks „what is the best option for us?“ If Schaaf sticks to the system new kid Niclas Füllkrug could join Rosenberg in the attack. Füllkrug, 19, has played 74 minutes of Bundesliga football, has 43 touches to the ball and one shot at the goal. Not exactly the kind of player Hummels and Subotic have to fear, but says Bremen midfielder Aleksandar Ignovksi „we are going to beat Dortmund 1-0 and the goal will be scored by Niclas Füllkrug. Those words however were spoken before goalie Tim Wiese and midfielder Bargfrede also announced they were not travelling to Dortmund.
Whatever Ignovoski predicts, whoever is injured – it is our game and it is our task to win the game. We have eleven players to make the most out of Saturday. Eleven players who fill fight for their title chances, who will not be shaking when thinking about their five point lead and what it would be like to lose the lead and we have more than 80.000 fans to turn Westfalenstadion into hell for Bremen tomorrow at 3.30pm CET! Nobody ever said defending a title was easy but also nobody ever said it was not allowed. Just nine more games to enjoy this Bundesliga season. Auf geht’s Dortmund, kämpfen und siegen!
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Bender Kehl - Kuba, Kagawa, Großkreutz - Lewandowski
Subs: Langerak - Löwe, Owomoyela, Santana, Leitner, Gündogan, da Silva, Perisic, Barrios
Werder Bremen: Mielitz - Fritz, Prödl, Sokratis, Schmitz - Ignjovski - Junuzovic, Trybull - Ekici - Rosenberg, Füllkrug
Ref: Deniz Aytekin
Kick-Off: 3.30pm, Saturday, March 17th 2012
The Westfalenstadion is sold out. The 1.000.000th fan will pass through the turnstyles tomorrow. And then sit back for a minute of silence for Timo Konietzka, who died earlier this week aged 73.