Dortmund – Borussia Dortmund dropped two points on Friday night in a 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin. Here is what coaches and players had to say after feisty 94 minutes.
…on the match: “We struggled for long periods in the match to put pressure on the opponent and to create scoring opportunities throughout the first half. That isn’t a reproach against my team, but down to the fact that the team didn’t play together in that constellation. We didn’t only have young but also inexperienced players on various positions, so it took time for them to find into the game.
The we didn’t make the most out of the chances we had in the first half against a very disciplined opponent that defended adamantly. In general, Hertha allow very little chances in a match. In the second half we felt more freely on the pitch. We found better into the match and managed to steer the ball into dangerous spaces, which made defending tougher for the opponent.
The goal helped us even more to unfold our game, to raise the pace of the game and to funnel the ball in between the lines of Hertha’s defence. From the 60. minute on we had excellent scoring opportunities and scored and highly deserved equaliser late in the match. Taking the chances we created in the second half into consideration, it felt like we would have deserved all three points. We worked hard today and ultimately played very emotionally, throwing everything into the match we had. It was a lot of fun to coach this team.”
…on Mikel Merino’s debut and Matthias Ginter’s performance: “I saw Matthias play a sublime match tonight. Mikel needed some time to find into the match. One could see that it’s a big step up for him in terms of the pace of the match and intensity. For Mikel it was very important tonight to present himself tonight. After a nervous beginning, he mustered up the courage to move into the spaces that helped us to keep the pressure on Berlin. He could count on the support of his teammates. Mikel can build on tonight’s performance.”
… on being nervous:“It was my debute in the first division. Of course I was nervous in the beginning, it’s impossible not be nervous being young and playing in front of such a crowd. I felt more comfortable in the second half and could gain more confidence. I’m very happy that I could play tonight.”
…on the atmosphere: “It was incredible. When we scored our goal, the crowd was screaming and shouting. I couldn’t hear my teammate that was only two meters away from me. It’s incredible to be part of the group and the support of the fans makes it easier for us.”
…on the situation that got Emre Mor sent off: “I might have exaggerated too much in the situation. The atmosphere in the game got the better of me, I’m sorry. It wasn’t a red card, I overreacted in the heat of the moment.”
…on whether debates previous to the match about Dortmund being fouled too much made a difference: “I think you could feel it in the stadium tonight. Every small foul evoked a heated reaction from the crowds. We tried to not let this atmosphere affect us, but it’s only natural that some fans engage more, if there are so many debates beforehand.”
“The referee started well. He had the game under control in the first half. Neither I not my players created the chaos in the second half. The shoving and rolling around on the ground didn’t come from us. We delivered a great party. Velentin Stocker left the pitch without protesting [after being sent off]. My team is disciplined. There is a reason we were the second fairest team of the league going into this Matchday. Neither I nor Stocker complained after the red card. This is football, we’re also role models. We played a good match today. Winning a point against a top team like Dortmund is the next step in our development.”