After the game is before the game
The most well-known quote of Sepp Herberger is “The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes. This is fact, everything else is theory.”, meaning that no game is decided before the first whistle and only few before the last whistle. (A quote Kaiserslautern may find useful in their semi-final tie against Bayern on Wednesday.) But I would like to quote a less known phrase of West-Germany’s famous manager, a less beautiful one. “After the game is before the game” he said and meant, that you should never celebrate (or mourn) for too long as it would disturb your concentration on the next game. Without even taking into consideration the meaning behind, it has hardly been more true than at that moment for Borussia Dortmund. It is also the reason why you get an all-in-report. Match report, warming up, road trip report, you name it.
I would like to start on the early Saturday morning. And if I say early, I really mean early. At 6am the little van and 9 tired figures started the trip in the mist of North Germany. It was a good decision to start early and an even better one to take the route via Cologne instead of Dortmund as most of the busses departing from Dortmund stood in the traffic jam for hours only minutes after their departure. We, on the other hand, were already in the sunny South when the motorway was finally free again and the bulk of the fans could actually start their trip. We left our bags on the way in Würzburg in the hotel we would stay overnight and arrived in Munich around 3pm. After a long way around the stadium and a short journey with the underground, we just about had time for one “mass” in the Augustiner Keller before making our way back to the stadium. Munich is a really beautiful city where you can find just about everything you wish for and on a normal day, I could enjoy myself without problems. Being a football-fan and coming as a real lover of traditional football, however, Munich is most certainly not the place to be. Except for the masses of beer, there is nothing one would associate with the game. People are rich, many of them arrogant, most of them feeling superior to a dirty proletarian game as football. And it shows in their faces. If they talk about football, it’s things like “You know that you will lose, don’t you?”. It provokes people like us to be at our most asocial just to show them that they are absolutely right. Singing songs in the underground about the bodies with the knifes in their bellies that are lying in Gelsenkirchen and seeing the disgust in their faces – priceless! And so we sang the whole way back to the stadium about coming back home drunk and songs like that, enjoying ourselves and the faces around us. The faces also included many fans with red shirts or scarves and Japanese tourists topping their visit to Germany/Europe (Who really knows the difference anyway?!) with a football game.
The worst part of the trip so far was entering the stadium. As a female fan, I had the joy to line-up with only women. I think the separated entrances are meant to make my life and the life of the guards easier, but I kind of felt discriminated, actually. Reason for that was that I had to stay in line with the most cuddly of all fans. I know a lot of women screaming, shouting and singing at football, drinking beer and swearing like a sailor. I also know a lot of women who just enjoy the game, sing as loud as they can and swear every now and again when the referee makes a blunder. But I – luckily – don’t know that kind of women that were queuing with me in Munich. They were super-friendly, smiling, polite and I’m absolutely sure that they still don't understand the offside rule. It was terrible!
But once inside the stadium, I felt better again. Bayern were at their best (meaning as arrogant as they can be) and for the first time in a long time I wasn’t the slightest bit nervous before a game. We couldn’t lose anything. We were still ahead of the blue scum and would also be after the game. And I never expected anything else than a defeat anyway, so what. Our motto was “But screw it! Munich is only five times a year!” (based on a popular German song “But screw it! Mallorca is only once a year!”). And then everything went differently...
We started with an A2-team, with Lewandowski and Piszczek on the bench and Bayern put their A1-team on the pitch. And to everyone’s surprise, it was Borussia that showed Bayern how real champions play. It was a great performance from the first second on, even though Bayern had more ball possession (of course). They never came even close to being dangerous, though. Durm and Mhkitaryan against Robben and Grosskreutz and Hofmann against Ribery blocked the sideline and Kehl and Sahin the rest. And after 20 minutes, Mhkitaryan finally found, what he had missed so many times in the past games – the goal. And a nice one it was! The away support also started to raise to a normal level and after two more beautiful goals by Reus (49.) and Hofmann (56.), the party started. “Super Bayern, super Bayern” and “And you want to be the German champions?” were pinpricks in the Bayern soul and quite changed their tune. Some of them even started to get aggressive after the game. Something I have never seen before in any game against Bayern, which is probably because we never met any of them after the cup final in 2012. And just as if the humiliation on the field hasn’t been big enough, they themselves put the ice on the cake by playing “Always look on the bright side of life” after the game. We danced along and left the stadium with the sweet feeling of revenge and triumph. Sure, this was a game about nothing but honour and the points are only a bonus for the rest of the season, but the faces of their fans had changed 180 degrees and that alone was worth celebrating.
We went back to Würzburg celebrating and still were the next morning on the way to Dortmund. The next game was to start at 2pm and we arrived on time to buy our tickets, drink some more beers and take our place on the stand. If Munich already showed us a weird form of modern football, we were facing the ugly face of the worst outgrowth of modern football now. 3rd division, “Rote Erde”, Borussia Dortmund II against Leipzig. The soulless product of the Austrian gummy bear juice factory has about everything that fans of traditional football clubs like Borussia Dortmund will fight against with all their life for the rest of their lifes. They took a football club, changed the logo, the colours, the date of foundation and used the money to push it through the divisions. They already “successfully” did it in Austria and Leipzig is their newest project, founded in 2009 and on the way to the top of German football. This has to be stopped by any means and therefore, quite a big crowd was gathered in the traditional “Rote Erde” stadium next to our mighty Westfalenstadion to give their all to destroy the “cans”. It didn’t start well, though, as our “Amas” were behind after 18 minutes. But with the great support from the stands, they were able to turn around the game within minutes. Treude equalized in minute 32 and only 4 minutes later, Harder made it 2:1. The stadium was celebrating and the feeling of defending the soul of football was felt in the time-honoured ground. And it even got better. Half of the team that had beaten Bayern the day before was witnessing Harder’s second goal only two minutes after the break. What followed were thirty minutes of celebration and ten minutes of a little remorse as the plastics managed to make it 3:3 in the end. But except for the two late goals, it had been a perfect football weekend and we merrily sank into our beds that night.
But as I already said, it’s not that we have a lot of time to rest. Tomorrow, the next big match awaits us. After having beat the two best teams of the world in one week and not conceded one single goal, we should be ready to beat Wolfsburg at home and take the next step towards our last goal – the cup final. With the spirit of the last two games, it shouldn’t be that big a problem, even though Wolfsburg has proven many times that they are difficult to play and they have huge quality. But with the determination the team has shown in the cup so far and the quality they have put on the pitch against Real and Bayern, there are not many teams in the world that we can’t beat – if any. There are no more injuries from the Bayern game and plenty of possibilities for Klopp. Most probable is that we will play in the way we did the second half against Wolfsburg only 10 days ago (Yes, it really was!).
But in the end it’s up to us fans to give them the energy they need after a long and exhausting season. We can make the difference, we can score for them if they can’t, we can run for them, if they can’t. Don’t believe it? Watch the highlights of the games against Stuttgart in 2012, against Malaga in 2013 or against Madrid last week. We can and we have to make the difference, because they deserve it – and because we deserve another trip. One that will bring us to Berlin twice in a week next month.
Let’s go, boys!!!
Bayern: Neuer – Rafinha, Martinez, Dante, Alaba – Lahm, Schweinsteiger – Robben, Faithboy, Ribery – Mandzukic
Substitutions: Raeder for Neuer (46th), Müller for Ribery (60th), Kross for Robben (69th)
BVB: Weidenfeller – Großkreutz, Sokratis, Hummels, Durm – Kehl, Sahin – Hofmann, Mkhitaryan – Reus – Aubameyang
Substitutions: Lewandowski for Hofmann (62th), Friedrich for Hummels (70th), Jojic for Aubameyang (76th)
Goals: 0:1 Mkhitaryan, 0:2 Reus, 0:3 Hofmann
Yellow cards: Martinez, Kross, Hofmann, Mkhitaryan
Red card: Rafinha (violent conduct - as always)
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Piszczek, Sokratis, Hummels, Durm – Kehl, Jojic – Reus, Mkhitaryan, Großkreutz – Lewandowski.
VfL Wolfsburg: Grün – Träsch, Naldo, Knoche, Schäfer – Luiz Gustavo, Junior Malanda – de Bruyne, Arnold, Perisic – Olic.
Referee: Manuel Gräfe