„Oh man" or Omen?
Bundesliga has finally started but with some at first glance pretty bad results. Borussia lost 0-2 to Leverkusen, Bayern won 2-1 against Wolfsburg. However – and this is one of the better results of the first match day – blue scum lost 1-2 and Gladbach started with a 1-1 at home in Borussia Park. Why do I name these different and seemingly not connected results? Because all this happened before, at the first day of Bundesliga competition 2010/2011 when Bayern Munich opened the season with a 2-1 over Wolfsburg, we lost at home 0-2 to Leverkusen and GE and Gladbach played just like they did last year. At the end of the mentioned season 2010/2011, one team became the champion which no one expected before the start: Borussia Dortmund. Therefore, instead of swearing "Oh Man" at our team, let's just see the first defeat of the season as a good omen. If Borussia becomes the champion at the end of the season, nobody will care about this 0-2 anymore. But until then, we need to take a look back at what caused the defeat.
Before the match
In the week before the first Bundesliga encounter, Borussia unfortunately faced several injury worries as Dong-Won Ji will miss four weeks of Bundesliga action and Oliver Kirch will be out for two months, both with thigh injuries suffered in training. Besides them, the team of Schmelzer, Ramos, Sahin, Hummels, Kuba and Gündogan was not able to compete which meant that Klopp had not many options to choose from. Langerak was in goal instead of Weidenfeller who is with the team since two weeks now after becoming one of the five Borussian world champions. The defensive line was built with Durm, Sokratis, newbie Ginter and Piszczek while Kehl and Jojic formed the double six. The offensive line behind striker Immobile saw Mkhitaryan, Reus and Aubameyang. All in all, this is quite a good line-up especially when taking into account that so many players were not able to play. Both teams were successful in the national cup one week before the start of the Bundesliga, Leverkusen also won their playoff to the Champions League away at Kopenhagen so it seemed that both teams were ready for the Bundesliga in the beautiful and sold-out Westfalenstadion.
However, nine seconds into the match, only Leverkusen seemed really ready as they presented the fastest goal in the history of the Bundesliga thanks to the whole Borussian defense taking a nap at the start of the match. Especially Jojic, Ginter and Durm did not find their way into the tacklings and more or less escorted the attacking Leverkusen players so that Bellarabi had no real big problems to make history by scoring this early goal which many fans did not see because they were not on their seats yet. Especially in the first match of the season, after weeks of preparation, training camps and friendlies, the feeling of conceding the first goal after just nice seconds must be very disappointing and frustrating. However, Ginter had the chance to equalize just three minutes later when Reus brought a free kick in from the left side and Ginter's header was no big challenge for Bayer keeper Bernd Leno. Apart from Ginter headers after free kicks or corners, Borussia had big problems against a good Bayer side which pressed hard over the whole time of the game and showed great strengths in defending so that chances were not created at a regular basis. Ciro Immobile will need some time to get used to the style of Borussia (just like former transfers needed time as well) and this could be seen against Leverkusen as well even though it would be way too easy just blaming him for the defeat and the lack of creativity in the Borussian offense. Leverkusen on the other hand was dangerous after standards. A header by Kießling nearly doubled the lead after a Calhanoglu free kick and the new number 10 of Bayer took a shot from 20 meters with a free kick which left no big harm as well to conclude the series of only a few chances both sides created during the first half. However, the lead was a deserved one since Leverkusen's structure was more convincing and more focused than the one in black and yellow.
The second 45 minutes honestly did not change too much. Even though Borussia tried to create more pressure – at which they at some times also succeeded – chances were very rare, again due both facts that Leverkusen presented a strong defense and Borussia lacked creativity in the offense as well. Of course, the possibility of counter attacks for the guests increased during the match and eventually, a big mistake by Erik Durm made the 0-2 possible. The world champion made it too easy for Bellarabi to gain control of the ball and the scorer of the 1-0 assisted Kießling to double the score. Another record since it was the biggest amount of time between two goals in Bundesliga history. In the minutes before, Ginter (with a great header after a corner kick which was brilliantly saved by Leno), Immobile (after some chaos in the defense resulting out of a free kick) and Aubameyang (after a quick free kick attempt) had the possibility to equalize with the best matches of the game in black and yellow so that a 1-1 would have also been the fitting result. Honestly, it was more a kind of goalless draw kind of game which can be often seen at the start of the season. With Borussia missing the first and last seconds of the game, Leverkusen got the win and the three points so the reasons why the match was lost are not too hard to find. Football can be easy at times, so it was Saturday.
Borussia still has a lot of space to improve. But we know that before the season. World Champions like Mats Hummels or Roman Weidenfeller were not in the squad yet, Immobile will need some time in Dortmund and players like Kuba or Subotic are not at 100 per cent yet. Therefore, it is safe to say that Borussia will be a different kind of team some weeks into the season. However, even though the defeat against Leverkusen was unnecessary, let's just take it as a good omen. On Friday, we will travel to Augsburg to face the second team which lost 0-2 on the first match day – relegation battle incoming.
Borussia Dortmund: Langerak – Piszczek, Sokratis, Ginter, Durm – Kehl – Jojic, Mkhitaryan – Reus – Aubameyang, Immobile
Subs: Hofmann and Großkreutz for Jojic and Reus (74th)
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno – Jedvaj, Toprak, Spahic, Boenisch – Castro, Rolfes – Bellarabi, Calhanoglu, Son – Kießling
Subs: Reinartz for Rolfes (62nd), Brandt for Son (76th), Papadopoulos for Calhanoglu (80th)
Goals: 0-1 Bellarabi (1st), 0-2 Kießling (90th)
Referee: Aytekin (Oberasbach)
Bookings: Jojic – Jedvaj, Toprak
Attendance: 80.667 (sold-out Westfalenstadion)