Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Surely, like everyone else, I was thinking that the funk was on its way out after Wednesday's dominance in the midweek floodlights of Istanbul. The bad dream of matches full of pressure and dominance partnered with relatively consistent defending ending in losses would surely end. Gündogan was back in action, Reus was looking great, and Mkhitaryan's confidence was back. Klopp had the balls to play frickin' Papa at left back and it worked. A clean sheet was held. Subotic made some great defensive plays.
Caught in a landslide- no escape from reality.
It's hard to reflect upon this match in the somber shadow of its end. ¬After a few early minutes of pressure from Hannover, Borussia controlled the match. While Ron-Robert Zieler made save after save that can be explained with 37% skill and 63% some other higher power, the movement, passing, and match was ALMOST there so many times. Yet...half time was 0-0. But that's okay. Plenty of matches start that way, especially after mid-week runs (I don't have stats to back that up, I'm speaking purely from anecdotes).
So...about that second half.
I need no sympathy.
What else can be said that hasn't been said ad nauseam by the international media? Kiyotake delivered on a free kick that was felt 9,000 km away. The usual composure became urgent panic and shots were taken with what might as well have been closed eyes. Like a drunken fight with a significant other, the end result is one that no one wants to talk about in the days after, yet it's uncomfortable and awkward to ignore. You have to address this eventually, but talking about it hurts too much right now.
For yet another week, the team with fewer shots on goal has won. It's almost trite and predictable and easy to joke about, but it's not funny. For some reason, this week feels different. It's the pain of expectation. Defensively, nothing looked wrong. Offensively, keepers will have amazing days (ask Gladbach or Bayern this weekend) so you can't bemoan that. It's just pushing insanity to the level of unfair that the one shot where our defense was required to stand still somehow made it into the back of the net with 28 minutes to play that's how it ended.
Do we blame the Roman? Sure, he made a few mistakes in the last few weeks, right? That one goal in Köln was preventable to say the least. How about we blame the misplaced passes in the midfield? Maybe our headers should've been more accurate. Maybe our shots should have been placed better. Maybe we blame the league tactics of sitting back and the frantic pressing machine that once was so powerful and unexpected needs a few strategic tweaks to break down teams that sit deeply? That would make sense if a variety of players weren't getting great shots on goal. How about we blame the fact that we have yet to truly find comfort without Lewandowski with two new strikers and a rotation that includes Aubameyang? I wish it were that easy. The ball is getting to the right places and Lewandowski was known to have his share of misses as well.
So that leaves one last explanation for this week that one must ponder: what if we're just pure fucking unlucky? What if this is the explanation? Can someone please schedule a Hannover v. Arsenal match so we can see just what the hell we are all working with here? None of it makes any sense. Writing a match report where the facts are irrefutable but the end result is more perplexing than fiction makes it awfully tough to come to conclusions of any kind. So I'm just going to say that after the last seven days, I'm considering it bad luck, and I'll revisit this terrible explanation when I've got more evidence.
Little High. Little Low.
So we are back in a midweek game where a victory is expected. St. Pauli, the ever plucky and spirited favorite club of punk bands worldwide, should end up like Dresden, VfL Aalen or 1860 Munich in previous Pokal campaigns- they should prove to be a chippy second division side eager to make a statement, but that eventually the sheer weight gives way to a midweek victory. The fact that St. Pauli is in the relegation zone at this time means very little to me as I've learned fate can be a cruel mistress. I can't even make a Schalke losing in the first round joke here- I just don't care what other teams are up to well enough to feel good or bad if they win or lose. I only care about winning against St. Pauli. That's it.
Any way the wind blows, It doesn't really matter to me.
I have no doubt in Klopp. I have no doubt in our defense, which truth be told, played quite well against Hannover. I don't care who's in net. I don't care who's playing up top. I care that we find our midweek form of past months and bring that to München this weekend. Last week I wrote two things and they feel poignant to end here: It's important to remember that these things never feel like a turning point at the time. 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.