Something to be proud of!
Do you all remember last years Championsleague season? When we gave away our games in such a doddery way that even many Dortmund sympethizers had to shake their heads in disbelief. This year- it is all different. Somehow everything has changes. OUr team has grown, they seemed to have learned from pretty much all of their mistakes. The still very known bad use of their chances seemed to have stuck for a little longer- but our team has made all of us fans proud on Wednesday and the national and international press acknowledging what we have known for so long. That we are most certainly Championsleague worthy. And we can make it. Even in this group.
The day in Manchester
My travels started off with an 4,5 long busdrive from London to Manchester. At noon we finally arrived at our destination and already noticed a lot of black and yellow wondering across the town. The meeting point at Piccadilly Gardens (one of the prettier sights of the town) was covered with our lot and the atmosphere was very relaxed. Even the English weather God had some mercy with us and decided to let the sun come out at least during the day. After that long busride the first stop of the day in Manchester had to be a place that offered something to eat. At the place we ended up, a friendly chap opened the door for us, telling us to beat the *** out of City please- after all he was a United Fan. We got to hear this quite often during the day.
At five o' clock it was time for the march to the stadium which started off at Piccadilly Garden up all the way to the stadium. Policemen surrounded this march on every side of the road, seeming to enjoy themselves as much as we did. Even the unwanted "Pee-Breaks" were handled without a great fuss and a mostly smiling face. On every bridge and every window there were of course people watching and filming the march, probably wondering what had happened to their city- United and City, or even any other teams fans probably don't leave the impression we did. So we went along, singing and clapping every possible BVB song until we have reached the stadium. A welcoming alternation during the march was the ball that someone had brought along. For quite a while they were kicking and shooting the ball fifty meters up in the end- all was of course accompanied by the Mexican wave the rest of us did. When one police woman had enough and confiscated the ball, the other policeman had already talked her into giving us the ball back. During those three minutes of debate we simply sang "du machst unseren Sport kaputt" (it is you that ruins our sport)- an amusing episode that lightened up the atmosphere when a few drops of rain started to fall. All in all you cannot complain about the police that was there to guide and watch us for the day. All of them incredibly friendly and helpful. But let's take a look at the game now first- before we talk about the rather unpleasent things of the day.
Before the game
Jürgen Klopps has decided to give Sebastian Kehl a break and our Bender started off for him next to Gündogan. In the defense, everything stayed the same, while Lewandowski took over his position of the striker again that Schieber played against Gladbach on Saturday.
The game started off in an entertaining way and straight from the beginning we got to see quite a lot of chances on both sides. Our yellow wall at the south end of the Etihad Stadium was on and supported our team from the very first second on. Left and right to our sides the- what I asssume to be the tougher Man City fans- were "seated" but rather standing the whole time as well. So much to the "zero tolerance policy against persistent standing" that was mentioned earlier. Anyway, those city fans weren't neccessarily the best thing we have ever seen, but you have to give them that much credit, that they were at least a bit louder than Arsenal last year. On the contrary- that is not too difficult.
The first of all the chances laid in Nasri's hand or rather his foot, but Weidenfeller was right on form when Nasri tried him with a shot after Dzeko headed the ball over to him. This should only be the beginning of what we could consider to be the day of the goalkeepers. On a positive note, I have critized Dortmunds lack of ambition and aggression during the past few weeks and none of that was visible anymore. Our players threw themselves into the duels and fought for every ball, doubling City's players and ran behind the ball if they had lost it. That was the Borussia we all know. But after eight more minutes it was again Weidenfeller who saved us after a long ball from City's half of the pitch found Agüero out front who tried Weidenfeller once again. But our players most certainly didn't have to hide as well. Reus and Lewandowski showed how football looks like in Dortmund and played a nice pass onto Götze who found his master in Joe Hart- the English national keeper. Now, if this Hart continues to save the balls like that I expect England to be the next World Cup Winner. It was incredible what this young man did on that day and to some extent totally annoying as well.
And the game continued in great football fashion. For every fan and every neutral fan this game was a blast to watch. It was again Weidenfeller who saved a fantastic attack by Agüero and again Hart who proved to Götze that he would not let him score today. The outcome of his save was the goalpost that all of us hate so much. Then on City side it was Silva who did not manage to get the ball behind the white line and on our side Gündogan who had a meeting with Joe Hart again. Frustrating- but a lot of fun to watch. From both sides. Even the score was a 0:0 by halftime. There are most certainly more boring games to watch. The only worry we had was that our boys would not reward themselves for their fantastic way of playing. Anyway- it was time for the well deserved break.
The second half of the game pretty much continued the same way the first half had ended. With chances, chances- and more chances that should leade to a goal eventually. City started to withdraw themselves from the game at some point. Maybe they were not used to having such a dominant opponant. Or maybe they simply relied on their keeper Hart. They could actually. Because after a while it was again the duel Hart against the rest of the world- in this case- Götze again. I assume that those two will not become friends anymore. But finally- after almost an hour- it was the moment of Marco Reus who danced his way through City's defense and gave Hart the shock of his life when he hammered the ball into the left side of the corner- leaving Hart no chance to save the ball from such a close distance. 1:0 for us and us fans went mental on the stands. We could have made it. We could have tied the knot and score the 2:0 and everything would have been fine. Our players were on. They were running up and down the pitch, defending their penalty area, fighting for the ball and for room- they did everything they could. The only problems of the day were the crossbar, the goalpost and Joe Hart. City's fans had by know shut up completely, getting to hear a "you only sing when you're winning" from our side. Arsenal should know that one as well.
Now it was the moment of Gündogan and Lewandowski again, when Günogan danced his way through Man Citys defense and played a perfect cross onto Lewandowski who basically had nothing to do but slip his foot into the cross and score. But somehow managed to shovel the ball next to the goal. The problem with chances like that is: at some point you get the revenge. You are in complete control of the game. You could be in a 5:0 lead by now- but you are not. And then moments like the 88. minute come, when a Balotelli breaks your heart in thousand pieces. Or so it felt. Being exchanged in in the 81. minute he got the chance to score with a penalty kick seven minutes later that was given because of an apparent fould by Subotic who was had supposedly touched the ball with his hand. Later on everyone, English media, German media, players- anyone- would point out that there is nothing you can do as a player when someone shoots the ball directly onto you from 20 cm. distance. You don't have the time to think about what you would like to do with that ball. But it happened. City drew and we were down.
In the 92. minute of the game Lewandowski even had the huge chance to turn around that game once more- but it wasn't meant to be. At the end of the game the score read a one all draw. Something we would have signed easily before the game, and couldn't believe afterwards.
There was nothing but pride on that day. Even though it was annoying to only draw the game after we had around 20 chances to score more goals- but the way our team played and fought, was amazing. You cannot ask for more as a fan. We were singing our hearts out for our team and our team paid back with ambition and effort and joy and all the things our Ballspielverein stands for. If we continue playing like this in the Championsleague- I don't see a reason why we cannot make it in this group. It is all about the effort. And we have all the passion in the world to create that effort and ambition. And in the end- we even know how to play beautiful football. Dear Borussia from Dortmund- thank you for that great football night.
Aftermath in Manchester
On the downside not everything was perfect in Manchester that night. When we left the stadium and wanted to go for a drink in the city, many pubs would simply tell us that only Man City fans are allowed in there while it was even one of the pubs that the city of Manchester had told us to go to before the game. Dear people from Manchester, dear those responsible: your fans would never encouter such rudeness in Dortmund for a second. Here, every fan is allowed in every pub. Before the game- after the game- it is called friendlyness.
Also: Some fans had tickets for the block section 111 and went in there without cheering or supporting Dortmund, they didn't even wear colours. Somehow City must have heard about it and stormed into the block, asking for ID's. Everyone who had a German ID was asked to come out and go to a different part of the stadium. It did not happen though. They were thrown out of the stadium and told to never come back- to be honest- I have never heard of anything like that and must say that Man City did everything on that day to come across as an even worse team than everyone had already expected them to be. Quite a pathetic display.
Thank God there were policeman who even distributed snacks after the game to those fans who had to wait for the busses in the then pouring rain. We definetely appreciated them.
Our Borussia will play against Hannover on Sunday in the Bundesliga. The next Championsleague game will be Madrid at home.
Man City: Hart - Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy - Javi Garcia, Yaya Touré - Silva, Nasri- Dzeko, Aguero
Exchanges: 34. Rodwell for Javi Garcia
57. Kolarov for Nasri
81. Balotelli for Clichy
BVB: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - S. Bender, Gündogan - Blaszczykowski, M. Götze, Reus - Lewandowski
Exchanges: 74. Felipe Santana for Hummels
82. Großkreutz for Gündogan
88. Kehl for M. Götze
Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Czech)
Goals: 0:1 Reus (61.)
1:1 Balotelli (90. Penalty)