Saturday, April 21, 2012
Fantastic scenes at the Signal Iduna Park last night as Dortmund clinched back to back Bundesliga titles with a 2-0 home win over Borussia Moenchengladbach. It's been a great season for the yellow peril and there are few better sights in football than that of Jurgen Klopp running along the touchline and jumping in the air when Dortmund score, a bit like Martin O'Neill but with more class, and glasses!
The destination of the title wasn't really in doubt after the home win against Bayern Munich a couple of weeks ago, a match that Arjen Robben will not be replaying on his DVD. Robben stayed on the goal line after a corner had been cleared thereby playing Robert Lewandowski onside who duly scored, Robben then took the worst penalty in the history of penalties (imagine Yakubu against Liverpool but even worse) and then to cap a wonderful evening of under achievement he kicked the ball over an opening goal from two yards in added on time. Incidentally 80,000 were inside the Signal Iduna Park and 450,000 had applied for tickets! Lewandowski has been the revelation this season, his twenty goals have meant that the team haven't really missed the star of the 2010-11 title winning season, Lucas Barrios, who missed the start of the season due to an injury picked up in the Copa America. It's a great achievement for Klopp, the team and the club which nearly folded in 2000 but which has one of the best stadiums in Europe, including a standing section for 25,000, and some of the most loyal supporters. You have to hope that unlike last summer the club can hold onto its best players, although there are rumours that Shinji Kagawa has yet to sign a new contract, because they really should do better in next seasons Champions League than they managed this year.
Not sure what to make of last nights El Classico. Real Madrid were deserved 2-1 winners in the Nou Camp and should now win their first La Liga in four years but the game seem to be played at a very subdued level. There wasn't the intensity there has been in previous years and apart from a couple of tackles and a bit of play acting by Pepe (quelle surprise!) the match was incident free. It could be that both teams have their minds on this weeks Champions League second legs but in recent weeks it has been hard not to question Pep Guardiola's tactics. We know that in 2010 they were almost prepared to sacrifice La Liga in the hope that they would compete in the Champions League final at the Bernabeau, something they failed to do so after losing to Inter in the semi finals, and this year the whole season seems to have been built around a farewell party for Pep in the Allianz Stadium on 19th May. Bayern Munich will struggle to be better than they were against Real Madrid last week when they play the return leg this Wednesday and Real have the advantage of an away goal, so in theory could make do with a 1-0 win. Barcelona can play better than they did against Chelsea and need to improve on their finishing, the romantics among us are no doubt hoping for a Bayern v Barcelona final but football has a funny habit of vomiting in your jock strap.
Posted by Paul at 9:12 AM