Borussia Dortmund is a great club. That became evident once again today. The way Jürgen Klopp and Sebastian Kehl received their farewells in the last home match was beyond words. A whole stadium bowed to the iconic times of Klopp and Kehl with class. The first tears were already shed when Sebastian Kehl received a bouquet of flowers before the match. Jürgen Klopp refused an official farewell by the club, but even he couldn’t prevent the great tifo to paying tribute to the greatest coach Borussia Dortmund has ever seen. Danke Jürgen, Danke Kehli.
Though, the players listened. They fulfilled Klopp’s wish of one last “Vollgastveranstaltung” in the Westfalenstadion. Led by Sebastian Kehl, who filled the captaincy for one last time (nice gesture by Hummels) the black and yellows swirled on the field from the very first minute.
All the energy and motivation oozing out in the first half an hour of the match, where Borussia Dortmund’s relentless power play made this match very easy on the eye. It was the sort of display, which makes it even harder to comprehend, why Jürgen Klopp is leaving, if the team is capable of dazzling football. Sadly, they could get it on the field consistently this season.
BVB could have been 3-0 up after 10 minutes, but after 15 minutes the inevitable happened. Ilkay Gündogan was quick to react on a poor build up pass from Jannik Verstergaard and the essence of Gegenpressing was visible, as four Dortmund attackers were up against poor old Assani Lukimya.
Shinji Kagawa received the pass. Shinji Kagawa didn’t lay off. Shinji Kagawa went for it himself. Shinji Kagawa swerved past Lukimya. Shinji Kagawa just smashed it in. Like in old times. Finally, Shinji.
Of course, Aubameyang wouldn’t end his season without scoring a goal. Of course, he would use his pace to do it. Only two minutes after Kagawa’s goal, the Gabonese doubled the scoreline with his 16th Bundesliga goal of the season. Of course, he would round it off with a somersault. It was a great goal — a one-two between Kagawa and Aubameyang that even Marco Reus couldn’t defend.
But Borussia Dortmund couldn’t maintain the high intensity of the first 20 minutes and thus Werder Bremen came back into the match. It has to be said, the Northerners can play a nice ball if you let them. Levin Öztunali showed neat composure when he skipped past Mats Hummels with tight ball control in the box. His shot left Roman Weidenfeller no chance and thus the match became more tense, than it originally looked.
Werder Bremen lost their respect more and more and made it interesting for the rest of the first half. Until Henrikh Mkhitaryan crowned his performance with a very nice goal. The guests were sliced up after their own corner, as Mkhitaryan stormed forwards to receive a pass. No offside, Aubameyang to the left with only the keeper to beat. No lay off, but a beautiful lob to score Dortmund’s third goal in the first half – which was the first time BVB scored three goals in the first half this season.
Mkhitaryan was outstanding against Werder Bremen. He was everywhere, just full of live and energy and finally his skills translated into efficiency on the field. That’s the player Dortmund signed and that’s the player they should on to dearly. It’s sad to see it happen so late in the season, but his form may be vital to secure the cup in the coming week. It was good to see Marco Reus back on the field, but it was clear to see that Reus isn’t in form and that he is lacking rhythm. Too many misunderstandings between Reus and his teammates are the result of an injury-plagued season.
The second half was symptomatic for Borussia Dortmund’s season. They were in the lead, comfortably in control, but they couldn’t for the love of god drive the match home before it would get frisky again. It got frisky again, Werder Bremen converted a set piece five minutes before end, to make it interesting again.
But all that didn’t matter in the end. Borussia Dortmund finish 7th in the league, because FC Augsburg won in Gladbach. This could be a good thing after all, because FC Schalke finished on 6th place. If BVB win the cup, they would hand two play-off rounds to their hated rivals, which would be the icing on the cake. But if Dortmund don’t win the cup, they will have to play the two unwanted play-off Europa League play-off rounds themselves, which would be not so awesome. Technicalities, we can focus on next week.
What followed were one of the most emotional minutes in the history of Borussia Dortmund. Jürgen Klopp, overcome by his own feelings was standing in front of the Yellow Wall. Tears in his eyes with a lump in his throat, Klopp was one of 80.000 not in control of their feelings. It was the most beautiful sad feeling in the Westfalenstadion at the end of a turbulent season. The already intense emotions were magnified when Sebastian Kehl stepped forward for his final ovations with the Südtribüne. It was a collective cry-fest in Dortmund. Klopp, knowing that he would hardly get a coherent sentence out, he recorded a five minute thank-you message before the match, which was then played on the video screens. A bit surreal, as the whole team stood on the field listening to the words of their head coach.
In situations like these, one can almost grasp how great Borussia Dortmund is and how much this football club means to everyone involved. Almost. I’ve still got a lump in my throat just thinking about what happened. It’s hard to imagine Borussia Dortmund without Jürgen Klopp, even though everyone can be sure the club will be just as great in the future.
It makes me happy that things happened how they happened. Both Sebastian Kehl and Jürgen Klopp were adequately honored for their time at Borussia Dortmund and everything can be rounded off in Berlin. It’s the best part after an emotional afternoon in Dortmund. The season is not over yet! There is a cup final to be played and the way the black and yellows presented themselves, one can be optimistic about next Saturday.
Congratulations to VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 for staying in the league. Congratulations to FC Bayern for winning the league and to Borussia Mönchengladbach and VfL Wolfsburg to great seasons.
Congratulations to Alexander Meier for winning the Torjäger Kanone.
Condolences to SC Freiburg and SC Paderborn. Lucky Dinosaurs live on another day by beating FC Schalke. It was a tense final match day in the Bundesliga, hopefully we’ll see a title race with similar tension in the future.