Yes! Borussia Dortmund have done it! They will travel to Berlin on the 30th of May.
The euphoria in Dortmund knows no limits after a famous victory in Munich, though they haven’t really won anything so far this season.
But who can blame BVB supporters for overzealous celebrations? Their team entered the match as massive underdogs and the first half went exactly how everyone had feared. Bayern were utterly dominant on the field, while Klopp’s promise to “put down a marker” in offense was ridiculed by imprecise and hasty passes into the red abyss that was Bayern’s back line. Ironically Bayern took the lead after Dortmund almost produced a dangerous chance on the other end. Sadly, Medhi Benatia saw Shinji Kagawa’s pass coming and intercepted it and passed it right into the path of Robert Lewandowski, who was in acres of space. He chipped Langerak, but only hit the post. Though the Pole was calm and clever enough to finish the rebound from a narrow angle. Sokratis jumped up to see the ball go under his feet, Mats Hummels just left the line to free the way for Lewandowski’s shot.
Once again Dortmund conceded in awkward fashion. They were evidently the weaker side and Bayern’s lead was more than deserved after half an hour. In Dortmund’s defense, Bayern had not too many scoring opportunities up to that point either. A semi-dangerous Thomas Müller header from a corner, but that was about it.
Bayern continued in the second half where they left off. For the first time in this game Mitch Langerak made the decisive difference, as he hindered Müller from doubling the scoreline a few minutes into the second half. The game took 70 minutes until it really got exciting. Thiago Alcantara went off, Arjen Robben came on. Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on as well, which tilted the game in Dortmund’s favour. While Robben limped off the pitch 16 minutes later, Mkhitaryan reinvigorated Dortmund’s midfield.
Finally the straining season, packed with midweek matches, began to tell the difference. While Dortmund had time to regenerate during the weeks, Bayern had to play every three days in the recent weeks with a decimated side. Eventually they got fatigued and could no longer impose their dominant play on Borussia Dortmund, because they started to make errors. In the end Bayern’s superiority all comes down to precision. Whatever system you play, if the passes don’t go, where you want them to go, you’ll be in trouble.
BVB were growing stronger by the minute, finally winning balls higher up the pitch with space to counter. They still failed to make the best out of it, as Marco Reus let his teammates repeatedly know by throwing tantrums. Eventually though, Jakub Blaszczykowski found Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the left hand side of the box, who crossed the ball back into middle first time. Reus and Aubameyang were in excellent position for a tap-in, but cross wasn’t accurate enough to make it easy. But nevertheless, Aubameyang got a boot to it and directed the ball on goal from an narrow angle. OVER THE LINE! We all had to wait for the replay to know for sure. It looked definitely close, but this time it counted. Another wrongly disallowed goal in that fashion would have been unbearable. Did I mention that Arjen Robben went off injured again for Mario Götze? It played right into Dortmund’s hands because this way Pep effectively had two substitutions in the match to help his fatigued side.
And let me tell you, Jürgen Klopp couldn’t hide a little smirk, when the interviewer mentioned to him in the pre-match interview that Götze was disappointed to only be on the bench – again. Besides, did anyone really notice Götze during the game, apart from the penalty that Langerak saved?
One would have noted Marco Reus a lot more, had he scored that chance in the 85th minute, but you need to pull something special out of the bag to beat Manuel Neuer. So the game went into overtime and Dortmund would have had the advantage, if it hadn’t been for Kampl’s second yellow after 108 minutes. Otherwise it may have not been as nerve wrecking. But hey, that save on Schweinsteiger by Langerak – hats off! What a great reflex to keep Dortmund in the game – and maybe to keep himself in goal. Roman Weidenfeller is out for two weeks anyway, so now is the time for Langerak to perform like this in every game from now on and he will oust Weidenfeller in goal.
But who cares about the 120 minutes? The penalty shootout was just too much fun. I’ve never witnessed such a collapse by a team in a penalty shootout ever before and certainly would not have expected it to come from a side full of experienced veterans like Bayern. Surreal scenes as every Bayern player missed from the spot. Philipp Lahm slipped, Xabi Alonos slipped. Gündogan and Kehl converted with ease. It felt like the football gods intervened with the fate, there was no other explanation for what was going down. Earlier a blatant handball of Marcel Schmelzer missed and the linesman even spotted a ball, that was only 30 centimeters over the line – it was simply Dortmund’s night.
Mario Götze was the only Bayern player to direct the ball towards goal, but Langerak saved it anyway. At this point FC Bayern probably lost fate, even when Manuel Neuer saved Hummels’ penalty, it seemed too hard to overturn. And when Neuer, the Schalke ultra in a Bayern shirt, nailed the ball onto the post all hell broke loose.
Berlin, Berlin! Wir fahren nach Berlin!
For Dortmund it was a great night. A superb highlight in an otherwise dull season. It will be really cool to play another final in Berlin and it’ll be nice to not play against Bayern for a change.
FC Bayern on the other hand have lost Arjen Robben to a muscle tear, Thiago got a knock on his thigh and Robert Lewandowski broke his jaw and nose and will have to play with a special cast against FC Barcelona, which will probably hinder him in some way. Tough luck – and considering how flat Bayern are currently looking, their chances to reach the Champions League final haven’t exactly increased. But no malicious glee on this blog, of course.