Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shock and awe Teil zwei*

Jose Mourinho has always had a touch of arrogance about him, I don't think I'm revealing any secrets by saying that, which has often led to him fielding what looks, on paper at least, to be an unbalanced side in European football. It's not done him any harm though has it, winning Champions League finals with Porto and Inter and reaching semi-finals with Chelsea and Real Madrid but there's always a chance that whilst his teams have often had better individuals they were going to be caught out by a better team.

Last night in the Westfalon Stadion in Dortmund we saw what was almost a repeat of the previous nights German-Spanish encounter, with the Spanish team once again being reduced to onfield spectators witnessing the re-emergence of German club football at the top of the European club competition. Of course it could all go tits up in Madrid after all they have the holy grail of European football competition, the away goal. Last night was all about celebrating one of the great nights in European club football and if the previous nights entertainment had featured a maturing German side dissecting a maturing Spanish side with ease then this was a young German side beating a heavily experienced Spanish side with just as much ease.

Dortmund have had a hard season so far, failing to recapture the glories of last season and watching as Bayern disappeared over the horizon with the Bundesliga. Some of the players returned from Euro 2012 exhausted, Mats Hummels said he was so tired he thought about taking a year off and by the time the Bundesliga reached its winter break the season was over domestically but in Europe they remain the only  unbeaten side in the premier club competition. They had finished bottom of their group last season and when this season they were drawn in the same group as Ajax, Man City and Real Madrid it looked like it would be between them and Ajax to decide which team finished third and spent the post-Christmas season featuring on Channel Five on a Thursday night. Their detractors had however under estimated how much Jurgen Klopp had invested in succeeding this season, the old German work ethic of representing your family, your town and your club is vital to the success of Dortmund, where the relationship between supporters and teams is very close.

Last night Dortmund were simply too good for their opponents. It wasn't just Robert Lewandowski's four goals either, there was the penalty turned down in the first half and the chip in the second half from Marco Reus that was disallowed because of a wrongly called offside earlier in the move. The Dutch referee was having a strange first half and you could sense from the reaction of the home fans that the old Dutch-German antagonism wasn't far below the surface. After the half time break Dortmund scored three goals in just under twenty minutes to take the tie away from Real Madrid and Jose seemed to get more desperate finishing the game with Benzema, Kaka, Di Maria, Ronaldo and Ozil in attack being joined by Sergio Ramos - shades of his Chelsea days when if all else failed he would send Robert Huth into the opposition penalty area and simply lump the ball forward.   

Jurgen Klopp had asked the home fans to put aside the disappointment of Mario Gotze's move to Bayern, announced, with great timing, on Tuesday and get behind the team - he couldn't have asked for a better response.

On Saturday Real play Atletico in the Madrid derby, a match that will be repeated on the 17th May when they meet in the Copa del Rey final, just eight days before the Champions League final takes place at Wembley. Given Jose's history of performing the seemingly impossible you can't rule out a Real Madrid v Bayern Munich final but I can't help thinking that the romantics among us would prefer an all German final with the club, Dortmund, whose motto "Echte Liebe" translates into English as 'true love', coming out on top - or should that be Klopp? 

* that's Shock and Awe part two in German!


Span Ows said...

could have sworn I commented here last night!!

never mind. What a(nother) great game! It would be nice to see an all German final if only because NOBODY expected it. I was hoping for at least one ((Bayern) because I was so fed up with all the "wouldn't a Barca vs RM final be great" to which I replied 'greater than the 10 other times they play each other every year?' (slight exaggeration)

Paul said...

I agree about not having another 'El Classico' it would be too much.

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