The central term that Roman Bürki had come to mind during his explanations of the BVB’s happy 1-0 victory at FC Brügge seemed to be out of place. He felt that this evening was „progress“, announced the goalkeeper of Borussia Dortmund after the game, which had been marked by a deep desolation in football.
But the reason Bürki gave in the warm wind of this Flemish late summer night was conclusive; last year the BVB had „not won“ the opening match in the premier class, he explained, now the Dortmunders have three points. That’s more than they earned in the entire group phase of the previous season. You can see it that way.
The decisive factor in the development of this success, however, was neither a convincing playing concept nor the superior individual class of the favourite. The basis of this victory was rather: pure luck. In general, this Dortmund season is developing more and more into an almost uncanny accumulation of happy circumstances.
The development of football is still faltering
In the cup in Fürth they saved themselves with a flattering goal in injury time, against Leipzig the team of coach Lucien Favre profited from a strange waste of chances, against Frankfurt the BVB was better only in the final phase, and in Bruges they won because a clarification attempt by Matej Mitrovic hit the body of Christian Pulisic so favourably that the ball flew from there into the goal. The term „luck“ therefore appeared much more often in the players‘ reviews than Bürki’s thesis of progress. Of five at best mediocre compulsory games they won four, one game ended in a draw.
But football’s development work, which is one of Favre’s core competencies, stutters and falters. Sports director Michael Zorc complained about far too „few moments of surprise“, and captain Marco Reus declared: „We lack the depth in front“. BVB’s supporters waited in vain for 90 minutes for a successful move, including a goal finish. Only the defensive works to a certain extent. All the players had „defended well and thrown themselves in“, Bürki praised his colleagues.
Especially impressive were two rescue acts by Reus, who once cleared the ball in the highest emergency shortly before the line and in the second half after a long sprint from his position at the top helped to defuse a dangerous counter. The international, however, struggled with his game and role.
Reus ineffective at headquarters
As so often in the past few weeks, Reus had played in the attack centre, where he remained completely ineffective. Once again he pointed out that he was „not a pure striker“. But the coaching team was already „worried enough about our system and our line-up“. He seemed a little bit like he had to fight his own alienation at Favre’s amazing staffing decisions.
With Mario Götze and Julian Weigl, the coach had ordered two players into the starting eleven who had not been used at all in previous Bundesliga games. Jadon Sancho, who has never played under Favre from the beginning, also played. The fact that this construct did not harmonize very well in terms of football can hardly surprise anyone. It was all the more astonishing that the coach dared to experiment in such an important game.
He wanted to „rotate“ in view of the great stresses and strains that were to come this autumn, explained the Swiss player. But Weigl never found his way into the game, Sancho remained completely harmless, and Götze added a new chapter to his personal tragedy. At last he was allowed to play, and the fallen hero also managed a few pretty passes. But as soon as the rooms became cramped, as soon as speed or robustness were required, he was overwhelmed. „I didn’t do my best game, we all have to chalk it up,“ admitted Götze, explaining this achievement with a lack of playing practice. But how can you give a player who has been permanently weak for many months more playing time? Guts Sports betting is also known as „Guts“ and is also very known in across the world.
Favre’s Startelfe experiment had only one advantage: Good players came from the bench. Victory scorer Pulisic had been replaced for Sancho, Shinji Kagawa revived the game on the idol position, and Mahmoud Dahoud (who had come for Weigl) opened the day’s goal with a steep pass. With a lot of imagination, it might be possible to see these impulses from the bench as progress.
Jürgen Klopp has been working at Anfield Road for almost three years, but he may still be overwhelmed by the magic of the venue. After the 3-2 (2-1) victory of FC Liverpool against Thomas Tuchel’s Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the Champions League, he sat on stage in the heated press room and sounded deeply moved. „The atmosphere was fantastic. It’s something special to see such things in this stadium,“ he said, and there was little to suggest that his emotion had been played.
Last season, Anfield Road was the setting for a glittering European Cup campaign. Opponents like Manchester City or AS Rome were roared down by the crowd and Klopp’s footballers played against the wall. The game against the star selection from France’s capital was the continuation of this.
In the first half, the team around exceptional talents such as Neymar and Kylian Mbappé were washed away by the noise that descended from the stands and Liverpool’s high-speed game. After just over half an hour, Daniel Sturridge and James Milner scored 2-0.
Daniel Sturridge Honours
- Premier League: 2009–10
- FA Cup: 2009–10,] 2011–12
- UEFA Champions League: 2011–12
- Football League Cup runner-up: 2015–16
- UEFA Europa League runner-up: 2015–16
- PFA Team of the Year: 2013–14 Premier League
- UEFA European Under-21 Championship Team of the Tournament: 2011
- Premier League Player of the Month: August 2013, February 2014
Klopp’s team tends to epic dramas
After equalising after Thomas Meunier and Mbappé scored, a goal from Roberto Firmino, who was only able to use a Joker in injury time because of an eye injury, had to be scored in injury time to decide the match in favour of Klopp’s side. When the ball hit the long corner, the stadium seemed to burst. On the stands the people tumbled wildly like in a hidden object. The cheering was so loud that it could have been heard all the way to the Irish Sea. The fans sang the melody that had accompanied the club through last season’s competition to the final of Kiev against Real Madrid, who were so unlucky to lose 3-1. They sang: „Allez, allez, allez!
The match against Paris showed once again that European Cup evenings on Anfield Road are among the most moving events international football has to offer, and that Klopp’s team tends to epic dramas under the floodlights of its home stadium. The game has what it takes to become a classic, especially if it turns out afterwards that it was the cornerstone of a successful season in the Champions League.
The entry into the final in the past season was a surprise. This season, however, Klopp’s team are among the closest of the favourites – and have proved against Paris that this classification is justified. Liverpool were clearly better, as evidenced by the number of shots on goal (13-7) and corners (13-1). While Paris was dependent on its individual players, Liverpool had a better collective. „We were well organised and played with a big heart. All eleven players were involved,“ said Klopp. The best man in his team was Milner, not a virtuoso, but the hard worker in the engine room. That says a lot about the team’s performance. If you want to experience a wide selection of gaming opportunities then Jenningsbet is for you.
The self-confidence is stronger than ever
Liverpool’s victory confirmed what Klopp had already known. The day before the match, he had been asked whether the defeat in the final against Real Madrid, favoured by the mistakes of goalkeeper Loris Karius, now with Besiktas, had caused any damage to his players‘ self-confidence. „No, not at all,“ the coach had said. The match against Paris was proof that he was right. What’s more, his team may even have grown from the narrow failure in the final.
They played against Paris with an unbroken confidence in their own abilities, could not be distracted by the interim equaliser and earned the late winning goal. Liverpool have recently been able to take setbacks against top-notch opponents. „We simply have the confidence to score at any time,“ said midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.
It was different in the final against Real Madrid. At some point during the second half, the team could see that they were beaten and had accepted that. The comedy of the goals scored after Karius’s failures had certainly contributed to that. Against Paris, Liverpool have picked themselves up again. This is a sign that the team has not only matured footballerically, but also in their minds. Klopp could still experience one or the other special evening at Anfield Road.