A round of thoughts
Tonight, Borussia Dortmund faces Galatasaray Istanbul in Champions League competition, the only competition in which Borussia is set free from worries until now (if you take out the DFB cup, of course). Two matches, two victories against Arsenal FC and RSC Anderlecht, 5-0 goals. With a victory, Borussia would make a big step directed to the next stage of the Champions League. However, the black and yellows struggled over the last weeks in Bundesliga and are going to at least a small kind of crisis. Can Borussia turn around in the Champions League once again? We asked our editors what to think about the upcoming match. Here is their take.
Dear Borussia, i am already in Istanbul, walked around 20 kilometers yesterday in order to see the beautiful sights of the city. But the greatest part of the trip is yet to come. Every now and then you see black and yellow popping up from the hazy and chaotic masses, reminding us of tonights game. It is difficult to figure out what kind of game is awaiting us. Galatasaray won the derby this weekend whilst we had to face another disappointing football game against Cologne. As far as the results go, Champions League and Bundesliga seem worlds apart, making it difficult to ease our expectations on the one hand, but also to limit our negative feelings on the other.
As far as the team goes, I truly hope for them to get a grip and focus on what's important. Staying calm, keeping it simple and enjoying the game. You can do it Ballspielverein!
Dear boys in black and yellow,
you have disappointed us in the league but we hope for better times. Up to now Borussia showed two faces: The sad face in the Bundesliga and the smiling face in the Champions League. So what will happen today in Istanbul and what will happen on Saturday in our home match against Hannover? These questions are in intensive discussions since our defeat last Saturday in Cologne. But let us all think step by step! The first important match will be in Istanbul. I will be not there like Ida or many other BVB supporters. My friends and me will watch the match at home on TV and we will cross our fingers for at least one point against Galatasaray. So come on Borussia, show some people that there is no time for malicious joy or even sympathy. Show your team spirit and show the world the real Borussia. We all hope for a black and yellow night at the Bosphorus!
Having a Champions League game coming up feels a bit like a relief at the moment, with no disrespect to Galatasaray. Guess noone can really explain the extreme form change between Bundesliga and Champions League, it will be interesting to see if it will be the case again tomorrow. I think Galatasaray is a very tricky ground to play at, if we do win again tomorrow it would be a huge step towards the last 16 of course and hopefully it would also give us the much needed confidence for the Bundesliga this time. What I am hoping for the game is just what I always hope for that they give everything on the pitch and try to cut out those individual horror mistakes that cost us all the points in the league in the last few weeks!
the last couple of weeks have been something totally new in the Klopp era. Things got constantly better, many wins were topped with even bigger wins. And suddenly it seems all gone. The moment so many people have been waiting for to rub it in, to say 'I knew it before'. Every week we are now waiting for rock bottom but have we already hit it?
Champions League has been the better competetion so far. A win would mean one and a half feet in the round of the last 16. So, please show us what you got! Show us the Champions League face and fight Galatasaray down! We are all tired of losing, of disappointing performances, of not getting what this team deserves. Let's start a new chapter with a win in Istanbul.
Let me start by saying that we love you. We always have. We always will. This love is unconditional. We are not asking anything of you. We do not expect anything from you. What you gave us the past few years was more than we ever dared to dream of. You grew expectations and outclassed yourself. By far. Over and over again. Now, for the first time in many years, that just didn't happen. Not yet. Not on time.
So we are all facing a little bit of a cold turkey. Yes, Turkey... There is no time to rest our heads, no place to lick the wounds, no shoulder to cry on. Life goes on. And football life can be cruel at times. That's why we are all staying in Istanbul now. A little bit disappointed. A little bit sad. A little bit angry. A little bit scared. A little bit paralysed. But even more full of hope and trust and love. Hope that you can win this game and almost secure your place in knock-out round. Trust that you will do everything you can and that you will not give up until the final whistle has blown. Love to show you that we are all in this together and that you will never walk alone.
I would be lying if I would say that I was not disappointed (o rat some point even pissed) over the last weeks. However, maybe a series of defeats can also be a good thing for us. To come down, to know how to worship our glory of the last weeks, to stay calm and to refocus. That is what our players need to do as well. With the biggest part of the injuries gone, the excuses are also gone. Yes, our players seemed to be more focused in Champions League matches so therefore it could be the case that they will manage to refocus in Istanbul as well. But what if they don't? What if Galatasaray brings the next defeat? Then nobody would be able to talk the crisis away. It is a difficult game, but I am confident that the lads in black and yellow can make it. Trust the team, trust Klopp, trust our individual players. Just trust Borussia. Heja BVB!
"No mortal is alert enough to be present at the first dawn of spring." - Henry David Thoreau
How quickly we forget. Honest souls will remember that it was only three Autumns years ago where the season began with a rocky start. The Bundesliga and Champions league were off to less than ideal starts to say the least. As October rolled around, a few wins were collected in the Bundlesliga and this team showed signs of being the defending champions, but these wins were sprinkled with outmatched performances Piraeus and Marsailles. Of course, the momentum of later weeks and months quickly erased our memories of scoreless draws and losses that made up the first six weeks of the 2011 campaign, and many found the poor Champions League performance a blessing in later reflection of the historic season when, at the time, the losses were rued.
This time sticks out for me because I was in Dortmund to watch the match in Piraeus which was a stark contrast to the 5-0 pummeling of Köln a few days later. Then the 2-0 win against Dresden just a few days after that continued an unparalleled level of play on to Berlin the following May. It's important to remember that these things never feel like a turning point at the time.
Now we find ourselves in a situation where European matches are welcomed with relative comfort and confidence and the statement "if only their Bundesliga form could be brought to Europe" has been flipped this year. Yet, week after week, it doesn't feel like this team is skipping over the Bundesliga in favor of Europe. The effort is there along with the temporary face-palm worthy mistakes. Systematically, nothing concerns anyone who is a realist. While we cannot compare season to season, it's only mid-October. There's plenty of time. I'm calm and all of this "crisis" talk is great for the media to latch on to, but this will turn around. The ball will find the back of the net, the conditioning will catch up to the physical recoveries, the brain farts will slowly fade away and maybe some luck will be involved and the errant passes won't lead to goals seconds later. There have been many moments of class demonstrated this season, in spite of the results. That can be the most frustrating part, but it's also the reason for logical calm.
Galatasaray Istanbul: Muslera - Veysel Sari, Chedjou, Semih, Tarik - Felipe Melo, Selcuk Inan - Olcan, Sneijder, Dzemaili - Burak
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Sokratis, Hummels, Großkreutz - S. Bender, Kehl - H. Mkhitaryan, Kagawa, Reus - Ramos
Referee: Mateu Lahoz (Spain)
Location: Turk Telekom Arena, Istanbul