Cup Victory Berlin - several impressions
It has been some time after the cup final match in Berlin saw the final whistle and the victory of Ballspielverein Borussia from Dortmund. However, even our editors need some time to rest, to dream in disbelief, to celebrate and to collect texts from other parts of the country to create a match report which is hopefully worthy for a match which finalized the double victory. Therefore, we apologize for the pretty late delivery but we are sure that all of you understand the reasons. Have fun with the reports of several Dortmund fans united under one flag - the cup final in Berlin. Read from Henry why Borussia is the missing link between generations, read from our fellow friends from Kent who travelled to Berlin for the big match and read how our two editors Ida and Vanni witnessed the fifth victory in a row against Bayern Munich.
Henry's introduction - Borussia connects generations
Fantastic! Last weekend our dream came true! Deutscher Meister 2012 – Borussia Dortmund! And since last Saturday Cup winner 2012 – Borussia Dortmund! A 5:2 win against Bayern Munich. Scorers for Dortmund: hero Shinji Kagawa, hero Mats Hummels and triple hero the magic Robert Lewandowski!
It was an impressive and thrilling match of our young guns in Berlin’s Olympiastadium. Germany’s capital city was black and yellow from Friday until Sunday. The whole city was black and yellow? Yes I think so, if you have seen the meeting of Borussia fans at the Gedächtniskirche and the black and yellow supporters some hours later in the stadium you will surely agree.
Our group of seven BVB fans arrived by train on Friday afternoon. And together with us travelled my friend’s mother Dorothea, a young lady, being 88 years old! Dressed in a black and yellow jersey, always a smile on her face combined with a good sense of humour she’s the living proof that Borussia Dortmund is something like a fountain of youth! And who the fuck is Heidi Klum, Claudia Schiffer or Naomi Campbell? Ten minutes after our arrival a reporter team of a Berlin boulevard magazine interviewed her and next day a photo of us all was published in Berlin’s biggest newspaper. Who of us can say “I have seen all of Dortmund’s successes from the beginning on”, starting with our our first championship in 1956? Only Dorothea can claim this and when we met some of my schwatzgelb colleagues and our friends and BVB supporters, Neil, Justin and Matthew from England, Dorothea was one of the main attractions. All liked to take a snapshot arm in arm together with this fantastic lady. Also some Bayern supporters (yes, we saw a few) had been really surprised and from time to time we had to screen Dorothea from too many people. And one remark to all the Bayern fans we met after the match: all of them had another opinion than Bayern’s defender Philip Lahm: “Congratulations, today Borussia was the better team” they said. Yes, that’s the truth and after a fantastic match followed a long night for us in Berlin. Of course our young lady Dorothea went to bed a little bit earlier than us. But next morning she was one of the first guests in our hotel’s breakfast room. The rest of us had to fight more or less with a hangover.
But if you will ask us which hangover of the last years has been worthwhile, then it was definitely the Berlin Cup Finale hangover in 2012. And, no question Dorothea will confirm our opinion! We had a great day, we won the German double and we all hope that our young lady will see a lot of more exciting matches during the next years from her season ticket seat in our Westfalenstadion!
All the best Dorothea, all the best Borussia – two great examples for being forever young!
The guys from Kent - before the match
The greatest weekend of our football lives started at exactly 02:00 on Saturday morning, as my and Matty's alarm clocks rang out in perfect synchronisation. 30 minutes and a coffee and shower later, we were banging the door down for the surprisingly refreshed looking Justin to join us for the two-hour drive to Luton airport. En route Justin decided to call into BBC Radio's World football phone in and found himself placed on air, telling the whole country how a bunch of guys from Kent were heading for Luton airport to watch their beloved Borussia defeat arch rivals Bayern Munich and lift their first double in a 103 years of existence.
After quickly demolishing a full English breakfast we were soon hurtling down the runway for the ridiculously quick flight to Berlin, which gave us the smallest of opportunities to catch up on some shut eye. No sooner had we nodded off than we were disembarking the plane and heading into Berlin, where upon arrival at the spectacular Berlin Hbf we bumped into Steve Palmer and his wife. The irony of a bunch of guys from Dover meeting up with and a couple from Bury St Edmunds, all dressed in black and yellow, was not lost on us!
Plan A for the day was to check into our hotel and get some well earned sleep for a few hours before heading off to the Gedächtniskirche. This suffered a mortal blow on being informed that our room would not be ready until 3pm, so we resorted to plan B; bringing forward our meeting time with schwatzgelb editor steph and downing the first beer well before 11am! After discussing the various details of the day and placing a few bets on the game (worth noting at this point that steph predicted the loss of Weidenfeller after 37 minutes and a Dortmund victory (!)), we set off to the Gedächtniskirche where we bumped into our good friends from Edinburgh Borussen. Our kilted pals had also brought the Hungarian boys with them for good measure so it really was a meeting of the schwatzgelb.com crew! It was also here that we met up with the legend that is Christoph – the man with our tickets! Christoph, however, was armed with not only tickets, but with a giant polystyrene Pokal, which spent the rest of the afternoon being used as an offensive weapon by the one and only Arthur.
Our next port of call was Berlin zoo for some relaxed beers with another of the editors, Henry, Ralph and an amazing 88-year-old BVB fan, who having brushed Matty aside with ease and a dig to the ribs, rushed to meet Justin like a long lost friend. Photos, song and beers followed before finally making our way to the iconic Olympiastadion.
Just as in February, the stadium concourse and surroundings were a sea of Schwarz und Gelbe, with Dortmund appearing to outnumber their rivals by at least 10 to 1 (when is it ever not so?). After careful consideration, we decided to take up our seats early to avoid the rush and so it was, the greatest experience of my football life would be shared with Steve, Ida (another fellow editor), Christoph, Arthur, George G, Matty, Justin, and the illustrious Web (who took great delight in making us sing the German national anthem!).
Ida's first half - The early lead
It has been round about five days since the legendary game against Munich in the Cupfinal and here I am sitting, trying to find some words in order to explain to you what it was like to be there in the Olympiastadium on this perfect Saturday evening. In the background Boris Gott is playing in my CD Player, singing lovesongs about the city DOrtmund, the line "here, hope is building houses". Similar I might be able to explain to you what the first half of the game against Munich meant to us. Hope we had a lot, that we would defeat Bayern once more this season. But five times in a row, and not an "ordinary" Bundesliga match but a Cupfinal? Seemed a bit unbelievable but yet - possible.
Let me take you through a few moments of the first half of the game that made all the difference to us Dortmund fans. The game started the same way all the great stories start in a storybook. Probably a storybook made by Dortmund fans, not so much Munich fans. Bayern's Gustavo probably thought that if he can't play a big role in the Champions League Final, he might as well play a big role in the Cup Final. Only, not so much on positive behalf for Bayern. After a terrible pass into the defense, Kuba jumped into the game, took the ball and went all the way down into Munich's penalty area. Neuer, who was storming out of his goal, was trying to keep Kuba from scoring, which worked quite well, only, he didn't consider the fact that Kuba might as well play a pass in the center where our Shinji was waiting for the ball to score. And he did! 1:0 for us. Us Dortmundfans were exploding. This was unbelievable. Should it be possible? A dream come true? After 23 years of disappointment in the Cup? It was only the third minute after all, but this was starting perfectly.
Bayern was most certainly angry. It was a mistake that we won the "Schale"- again! And now also the Cup? No way. Cupfinals are not for Dortmund. They are for Munich, just like everything else as well. How dare we? Probably what Gomez thought when he was attacking our goal and decided to also attack our keeper Weidenfeller as well. Weidenfeller was down on the ground and had to be taken care of for quite a few minutes. The mood on the stands? Totally thrilled and enthusiastic. No one seemed to be worried that something serious could have happened and after a few minutes Weidenfeller was back on his legs, pretty shaken though. The following 15 minutes were a mixture of Bayern's anger and Dortmund calm. Munich tried, which didn't quite work and Dortmund decided to stay patient and strengthen the defense. When it came to our offensive game we appeared a bit nervous at times, playing too many bad passes. Om the other side, Munich, certainly superior in ball posession, didn't really find an answer either, until Gomez had one of his moments again. After a pass by Schweinsteiger he ran down the left side, provoking Weidenfeller to come out of his goal. Unfortunately Weidenfeller was still a bit shaken by Gomez earlier attack and played Gomez rather than the ball. Penalty shot. There wasn't a lot to argue about this decision so we took it with grace. Of course, Robben needed his revenge against Weidenfeller and got it even though he again chose the lower right corner of the goal. 1:1 after 25 minutes. Shortly after that it was game over for Weidenfeller again. Instead of keeping our goal clean he was brought into hospital and Mitch Langerak took over his position.
Now, everyone who has been watching Langerak play for the Amateurs, knows, that he has at least one slip in his game. Jürgen Klopp later told reporters what he had said to Langerak before he came in. His words? "Life is fair, simply enjoy the game." And life was fair this day. Very fair. Langerak's trip out of the penalty area and his tiny encounter with Ribery in front of the penalty area stayed without bad consequences and we could mark this as Langerak's one slip. Because after that, there was nothing to worry about anymore. At least for us. Bayern had their 15 minutes where they had the upper hand of this game. After that? It was Kuba-time again. Boateng got to realize that it is everything but easy to keep Kuba from the ball in the penalty area and decided that he might has well knock him off his feet. Penalty shot for us. A task for calm and collective Hummels. To be fair, it was close, but in the end, there was cheering and laughter and screams and endless enthusiasm among the black and yellow ones on the stands again. Manuel Neuer had his hand on the ball, but the shot was made with too much force and so the score read 2:1. Then came the hour of our Robert Lewandowski. The additional time read five minutes on the day, due to Weidenfellers injury. In a joking matter, I told a friend next to me "well, that is enough time to score at least another goal", said and done. Lewandowski didn't need to be asked twice for that. After a wonderful pass by Kagawa, Robert got the ball and tunneled Manuel Neuer in order to score the 3:1. Us Dortmundfans? Exploding. Nothing could keep us on our place anymore. People were shoved up and down various rows and everyone was in anyone's arms. It was a beautiful picture.
Shortly after that, referee Gagelmann decided to call for a break and our Borussia from Dortmund left the pitch with a 3:1 victory in their back. What was supposed to go wrong now? There couldn't possibly be anything, could there?
The guys from Kent - first half
Finally, at 8pm, exactly 16 hours after setting off, the match kicked off to the loudest chorus of "Heja BVB" ever sung. Three minutes in and we couldn't believe our eyes as the outstanding Kuba picked out the soon to depart Kagawa Shinji to roll the ball into an empty net – cue chaos.
Fast forward to the 34th minute and we found ourselves looking on in astonishment as steph's pre match prediction started to play out in front of our very eyes as the clearly injured Wiedenfeller limped off to rapturous applause. The arrival of Mitch Langerak at least enabled Web to break out into his favourite 'ditty', as we say in the UK! Just before half time we were celebrating again as Mats Hummels cooly stroked past Manuel Neuer from the penalty spot and I looked on in horror as my newly acquired mobile phone flew 10ft into the air and six rows forward in the pandemonium (phone recovered safely thanks to my "old man" protective case!). Pandemonium turned to outright delirium two minutes later as Lewa burst into the area to slip the ball through Neuer's legs to send Dortmund into the break 3-1 up and surely heading to glorious victory.
Vanni's second half - the decider
Gosh - over the first half, I several times found myself shaking my head in pure disbelief. Before the match, I was ready to see everything, from a clear defeat to a possible double victory. It was a totally open match for me but I would have never imagined the outcome we finally got on this historic day. Looking back at Robben's equaliser and Weidenfeller's substitution, I already feared that these two scenes would have been the deciders of this match. However, I was proven wrong. A 3-1 lead going into half time and I discussed our chances with my friends with whom I travelled to Berlin. Could it be the victory? No, the Bavarians are always able to score twice. Do not forget about this fact, do not take this lead to easy. Regain your power during the break, then support the team for the remaining 45 minutes and then see what comes out of it. So I rest for a few minutes, apologize once again to the guy standing behind me for bargling against him when we got the penalty in the first half because he lost his entire beer because of me. He did not care about it, of course, Borussia was in the lead.
I was ready to see the second half, always remembering the possibility to make history and close a circle. The last time Borussia won the cup final, my father witnessed it live in Berlin in 1989 and now I was there to do the same - incredible. And when I saw Großkreutz assissting Lewandowski in minute 59, I could not hold my tears anymore. I knew this was the decider, I knew this was the victory, the fifth in the row against Munich, I knew this was the cup victory. Incredible and I still get goose bumps thinking about this moment now. Even though I had some doubts after Ribery's 4-2 and the following Bavarian offense, the counter attack and Neuer's big mistake made everything perfectly clear. I was going nuts on the terrace, celebrated with totally foreign fans once again and loved every moment of it. And even now I could not really believe what a season we witnessed. Beat Scheisse twice, beat Munich three times in one season, gained 81 points in Bundesliga to become the best German champion of all time, won the German cup - it will always be a season to remember. My grandchildren will one day be able to repeat every word of my histories about this season because I will repeat them again, again and again. So for me it is only time to thank Borussia again. Thank you for everything, I love you!
The guys from Kent - second half and aftermath
The second half was quite simply the most perfect and complete football display I have ever witnessed from my beloved Borussia. With slick, fast and accurate passing played at a scintillating pace the side from the Ruhr simply blew away their illustrious challengers with such ease that one cannot help but feel a power shift in German football is taking place under our very noses. The highlight of that second half for me was Lewa planting his header into the back of the net to complete the most stupendous of hattricks after yet another fumble from Neuer – just perfect! Those 45 minutes provided the most memorable and exciting footballing experience ever, all of which played out to the backdrop of the deafening and utterly addictive "Ei jei jei jei, FC Bayern München, Wir singen und tanzen auf jedem Fußballplatz, ein Schuss, kein Tor, die Bayern, DIE BAYERN!"
In summary, words simply cannot do the day justice; the sight of Kloppo and his young guns parading the Pokal and Schale infront of the thousands of BVB fans; the sight of Hoeness and the Bayern 'suits' looking on in disbelief and the wild celebrations by the fearless Dortmunder Jungs will remain with me forever.
However, what made the day perfect, yes, perfect, was witnessing all of this in the company of such amazing friends. As we wandered back to our hotel, completely drained both emotionally and physically, we pondered on just how far the team in yellow and black had come since those early days of Thomas Doll – the same could be said of the boys from Kent!
Double Winner 2012: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Kehl - Kuba, Kagawa, Großkreutz - Lewandowski
Subs: Langerak for Weidenfeller (34th), Bender for Kagawa (80th), Perisic for Kuba (84th)
Nothing To Celebrate Munich: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Badstuber, Alaba - Luiz Gustavo, Schweinsteiger - Robben, Kroos, Ribery - Gomez
Subs: Müller for Luiz Gustavo (46th), Contento for Alaba (69th)
Goals: 1:0 Kagawa (3rd), 1:1 Robben (25th, penalty), 2:1 Hummels (41st, penalty), 3:1 Lewandowski (45th), 4:1 Lewandowski (58th), 4:2 Ribery (75th), 5:2 Lewandowski (81st)
Bookings: Weidenfeller, Hummels - Badstuber, Schweinsteiger, Gomez
Referee: Gagelmann (Bremen)
Attendance: 74.497 (sold-out Olympiastadion in Berlin)