Shinji's back in town
Football is romance, football fans are romantics, and every now and then there is one of these days to express those feelings. Yesterday's game against Freiburg was one of these days, with the prodigal son Shinji Kagawa returning to the pitch. Kagawa not only made the squad, but was part of the starting eleven, due to Reus' injury during the international break against Scotland. Apart from this change, the team basically was the same as in the last Bundesliga game in Augsburg two weeks ago, but with Ramos replacing Aubameyang upfront, who returned from the qualifiers in Africa just 24 hours prior to kick-off.
The game started almost with a déjà-vu, reminding the fans of Leverkusen's goal in the opening seconds in the last home game. This time, it was a misplaced pass in midfield, some 40 seconds into the game, which led to Freiburg's first scoring opportunity. Mehmedi's shot was saved by Weidenfeller, though. On the other side of the pitch, Kagawa saw Jojic, who entered the box and was brought down. The mediocre referee Bastian Dankert, however, did not blow the whistle in his debut at Westfalenstadion, just like several times later in the game. The best thing one could probably say about his performance was that he did not act in favor of one of the teams involved: His funniest decision was to overlook an obvious foul by Jojic in the second half.
The high pace start ended wth a nice save by Freiburg's keeper Bürki in the seventh minute, after Großkreutz was put in scene beautifully by Jojic. Over the next thirty minutes, Freiburg sat deep in their own half, with our side having problems in creating space in the offense. But, well, that's why we bought Kagawa back. His style is not so physical, particularly when compared to Reus, more important is his ability to create scoring oppurtunities out of nothing. This time, it was a brillant pass to Großkreutz, who made it to the goal line and saw Ramos in the box. A nice execution by the Colombian international later it was 1-0 for Borussia (34.). This goal was what we needed to get the necessary space in the offense. Until half time, half a dozen chances for a goal followed. One of these led to the 2-0, and it was now, when us romantics had to wipe away some tears out of their eyes. A Ramos pass intended for Mkhitaryan was (intentionally?) let through for Kagawa, who converted easily (41.).
Two goals up against a Freiburg side which ain't famous for their offensive style, the second half was not expected to be spectacular. And, to be clear here, it wasn't. Apart from a header by Schmid, it was Borussia who controlled the game and had some scoring opportunities by Ramos, Mkhitaryan and Immobile. The latter replaced Kagawa, who received standing ovations from the Dortmund fans. The other substitution was to bring Aubameyang onto the pitch for Ramos, and he iced the game after a high speed counter attack following a Freiburg corner kick (78.). The rest was warming down, with the Arsenal game on Tuesday in mind. For this reason, nobody (apart from Weidenfeller who looked pissed after the game) was really upset when Sorg scored for Freiburg in the closing minutes (90.). A solid start into this year's Champions League is more important.