A hard-work victory
It hat not been the well promised first match of the new season in the Westfalenstadion we had all hoped for. The reason varied. A lot had been going on before the whiste of the referee rang, and more or maybe I should say less happened on the pitch afterwards. It had been a victory that needed a lot of work. Not a blaze of glory many people had expected since Braunschweig had ascended from league two into the first division and was and even is expected to go down again after the end of the season.
Before the game
In advance the events in front of the Westfalenstadion had been less pleasent than the actual number of points we had on our accounts after the final whistle of the game. The police of Dortmund had managed to get themselves into a position again that is not only questioned by those involved but also by fans and worker inside of Borussia Dortmund as well. As far as we know there has been an incident where fans of the Desperados-Ultra group had been circled by policemen and also searched, apperently for no evident reason. Furthermore it has been said that the Ultra-groups around The Unity as well as the Jubos were supposed to be searched as well (which did not happen). The result of that was a supporting-boycott of the Ultra groups which ended in rather minor support from the Süd during the game. The actions of the police must not only be questioned but from this points appearance also criticised. On the other hand one can also ask and wonder weather the Ultras decision of boycotting the support during the game is the right choice. They definetely got heard since Sky reporters worked on explainations and further research concerning this topic due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. On the contrary many people on the Süd had no idea what had happened in advance and were rather frustruated because of the missing support and maybe guidance of support throughout the game. A difficult situation.
Back to the game Jürgen Klopp changed his formation on quite a few positions in comparison to the Augsburg game. Since Gündogan had to sit out due to a back inury, Mkhitaryan took over the position of the central midfielder. Furthermore Sokratis started in the defense while Subotic took a seat on the bench first where he neighboured Marco Reus. Instead of Reus Kuba started on the right side of the attacking offense while Aubameyang took over the position of the left side.
The first half of the game was pretty much and example on how football is not supposed to be played. If this game had been shown on TVs all across the world like games between Dortmund and Bayern had been in the past, nobody would show any interest in the Bundesliga anymore. It was simply painful to watch. Braunschweig did nothing but defend themselves in their own penalty area while Dortmund found no means to actually break through their defense and change the result to their favour. Instead there was no movement in the offense and our attacking wingers found no solutions as well. Shots from the distance by Sahin were almost everything us fans could whitness during the first half from Borussia's side. What had been working so well during the past few seasons with Piszczek and Kuba on the right side as well as Großkreutz or Reus/Götze and Schmelzer on the left side had completely gone wrong during this game.
Maybe our players need time to adjust to the new combinations and variations of the team, but in general it can be said that the viewers in the stadiums as well as those in front of the TV had little joy while watching the game. Which is alright of course, it does not only have to be sugar and candy while watching our team play, sometimes it is hard work to gain those wanted three points. And it had been on this day. Braunschweig's Theuerkauf had a chance in the 33rd minute of the game when he shot a ball straight onto our goal but that shot did not find its finish as so many other shots before. The first half ended with no real chances and a bit of frustration on the stands. Noone understood the Ultras boycott and moreover one was not happy with the teams' performance.
The second half did not start much differently than the first half had ended. Dortmund tried but found no real means against the defense of Braunschweig. After 50 minutes Bender as well as Sahin had the first chances on Dortmund's side and were followed by Lewandowski only a few minutes later but as so often the shots had not been accurate enough and so the score continued to be a nil, nil draw. After 58 minutes it was Aubameyang who was closed to score his fourth goal of the season, but Braunschweig's keeper Davari had a great day and parried the shot. After that Jürgen Klopp decided it was time for a change in Dortmund's team. Reus and Hofman came into the game and all of the sudden there was a difference. There was new input and Reus as well as Hofman played rather cheaky and dared to go ways the other players on the pitch seemed to have avoided during the past 70 minutes. While Lewandowski and Mkhitaryan had good chances afterwards, it was actually Mats Hummels who played a great ball onto Jonas Hofmann who ran straight into Braunschweig's penalty area and shot the ball against the long goalpost from where it went back into the goal. 1:0 for Dortmund. The Süd went nuts.
Finally. And how great, that a youngster like Hofman actually managed to make the difference. And it should be Hofman again, who seemed to have been encouraged by his goal, who laid the foundation to the second goal. After another good attack he was fouled in the penalty area. Even though Lewandowski took the ball in order to shoot the penalty, it was Marco Reus who decided to go for the shot and managed to score perfectly well. 2:0 for Borussia. The dreadful and difficult game seemed to have found a good ending after all. But Dortmund would not be Dortmund if they did not make it interesting in the end after all all. After a set-piece two minutes before the end of the game, Lewandowski thought that it was not right to walk off the pitch without scoring and decided to head the ball into our own goal after a cornerkick by Braunschweig. 2:1.
It wasn't an easy victory, and moreover not a relaxed one. In the end referee Sippel thought 92 minutes of the game were enough and called it a day.
Before the game many fans had said that this game should be an easy 5:0 for us. Far off. It was a hard worked for victory and many things did not go as easy as we had hoped and expected them to go. But all went well in the end. So after two match days we find ourselves at the top of the table and could actually get comfortable up there. But we all know that it is a long season still and that a lot of hard work is waiting for us. Despite the rather rough victory, it is good to have our Borussia back and against Bremen next Friday everything will hopefully be a bit more calm and maybe more pleasant. Until then, thank you Ballspielverein for a dirty victory that had been a draw at many games during the last season!
Stats & Voices
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Schmelzer, Hummels, Sokratis, Großkreutz - Sahin, Bender - Aubameyang (67. Hofmann), Mkhitaryan (90.+2 Ducksch), Blaszczykowski (60. Reus) - Lewandowski.
Eintracht Braunschweig: Davari - Reichel, Correia, Bicakcic, Elabdellaoui - Caligiuri (65. Perthel), Theuerkauf, Kratz - Kruppke (77. Ademi), Hochscheidt (65. Boland) - Jackson.
Goals: 1:0 Hofmann (75.), 2:0 Reus (86., penalty), 2:1 Lewandowski/Kratz (89.).
Referee: Peter Sippel (Munich).
Jürgen Klopp (BVB): „We really had our difficulties, because Braunschweig was really well organized. Extraordinary about this was, that they managed to do this the whole 90 minutes. I've rarely seen that, staying so concentrated. I expected, due to their chances, that our players would work through that. That happened when we scored for 1:0. I especially like those goals. It's relatively easy to make such a goal on a good day, but to work for such goals is much more difficult. We lost our concentration in between, but at the end we won richly deserved."
Torsten Lieberknecht (BTSV): „It's the second time in a row that we are not placed in the relegation zone (laughs). But it hurts, that we stand here empty-handed, after 2 games on such a high tactic level. We had, occasionally, too much figetiness in our game and as a result gave the ball away too fast; we also slipped in some technical mistakes. Our threat was the Counterplay, all in all we were an uncomfortable opponent. The goals against us were unnecessary, the 0:1 happened after a turnover. Overall it was an incredible support of our fans."