Qatar 1 Australia 0, but Langerak shines
In a week in which fourteen BVB players are all around the globe with their respective national teams, Mitch Langerak travelled to Qatar to play a friendly with the Socceroos from Australia. Neil Moors, a BVB fan out of England who is now residing in Qatar, went to the game and sent in a short report about Langerak's presence.
In the humble opinion of this (possibly biased) Borussia fan, one face looked more focused than any other at the impressive if compact Khalifa International Stadium last night, step forward Mitch Langerak.
For a relatively low key fixture, Langerak's focus shone like a beacon, which would have been made even more difficult given the Aussie stopper was well aware that his opportunity was limited to 45 minutes with Reading stalwart Adam Federici set to take the second 45 minutes.
In truth, Langerak didn't have much to do, certainly by way of shot stopping, but offered a commanding presence in and around his box as sweeper/keeper, displaying safe handling when called upon to give confidence to an Australian back line which rarely looked in danger. In front of him, an uninspiring game played out with Australia possibly guilty of over compensating for the 31c heat by passing endlessly in the midfield areas with very few meaningful attacks. Such a lethargic approach gave confidence to an increasingly dangerous Qatar side that ended the first half in the ascendency.
At half time, Mitch high fived his team mates and said his farewells to the 200 or so Aussie fans in a crowd of around 1,300.
The second half carried on in the same way as the first ended, with Qatar eventually rewarded for their endeavor and purposeful attacks with Khalfan Ibrahim netting the only goal of the game following indecision in the Socceroos defence. The Aussie fans were, however, rewarded with a cameo performance from FC Ingolstadt 04's Matthew Leckie, who is apparently the next big thing in Australia.
On this evidence, Australia will need to up their game considerably for the forthcoming Asian Championships on their own soil, but one can only conclude that Langerak did his chances of featuring in this prestigious tournament no harm at all with an assured display in an otherwise unconvincing team performance.
After the game, Mitch (who was the attention of considerable Australian female support!) took time out to join me for a selfie and was clearly pleased with his clean sheet and not to mention a little surprised to find a lone Borussia fan had turned up to cheer him on! For me, leaving a football stadium in my Borussia trikot only wetted the appetite for my own long awaited return to The Westfalen Stadium when Wolfsburg are in town in December.
Neil Moors, English Borussia fan currently living in Doha, 15.10.2014