Football

Dortmund: From Borussia with love

Klopp all smiles as Dortmund continue to impress. (©GettyImages)
Klopp all smiles as Dortmund continue to impress. (©GettyImages).

On any given 'mufti' day at any school across the nation, children would proudly don their club colours.

Back in 1996 there were legions of Arsenal and Manchester United shirts at my school, which created an uneasy sea of red. My fluorescent yellow top stood out from the crowd, drawing a confused look with many of my fellow pupils wondering what in the world I was wearing. I proudly announced it was a Borussia Dortmund top to which the common reply was, "What is a Borussia Dortmund?".

A year later, the Manchester United fans at my school would finally realise what a Borussia Dortmund was - a football team which went on to win the biggest prize in club football, the Champions League, with Borussia Dortmund knocking Manchester United out in the semi-finals.

In the summer of 2007, my cousin, a fanatical follower of Schalke who had managed to get me a ticket for the match against Dortmund, invited me over to Germany. He asked me what size jersey I would require, as he was about to purchase me an over-priced soccer top.

I indicated I would require a large sized jersey but he must make sure it was yellow, however, it was him who had the last laugh as Schalke totally destroyed their nemesis four goals to one. He constantly told me that Dortmund was dying and I never saw that beautiful yellow jersey he had promised me.

Then a couple of years later, in walked Jurgen Klopp. He rejuvenated the team, they were playing with hunger and passion that helped them to a fifth placed finish.

The 2010/11 season was one to remember and Klopp fielded a young and brilliant side, which captured the league title for the first time since 2002. Still, many of my friends didn’t really know or care what Borussia Dortmund was.

The next season Klopp guided Dortmund to a second league titles in as many years and also captured the DFB Pokal, Germany’s version of the FA Cup, slaughtering Bavarian giants Bayern Munich 5-2 in the final.

Brilliant domestic success for Klopp and his young team helped us fans deal with a poor showing in the Champions League over the past couple of seasons.

However, the 2012/13 Champions League has put Borussia Dortmund firmly on the European map, qualifying as group winners from a so-called group of death which featured Spanish giants Real Madrid, English league champions Manchester City and Dutch champions, Ajax.

In the first match, they scraped past a brilliant Ajax team with a 1-0 win but it was the 1-1 draw in Manchester that raised everyone's eyebrows. They totally outplayed Manchester City and many pundits and fans alike agreed that Dortmund should have really won the match. For me personally, I still feared that Dortmund might exit at the group stage, a feeling that was shared by some Dortmund fans.

Real Madrid visited Dortmund on the next matchday and Dortmund superbly held their own, winning the match 2-1 which sent the ShwarzeGeld fans into disarray. Dortmund secured a fantastic 2-2 draw in Madrid the return fixture which put Dortmund on course for qualification.

Dortmund and their faithful fans then travelled to Amsterdam to play Ajax and gave them a footballing lesson, decimating Ajax 4-1. Dortmund were into the next round with one game to spare, which ended in a 1-0 victory over a lethargic Manchester City side who had a miserable showing in the Champions League yet again.

Back in Germany, Bayern Munich were starting to pull away at the top of the Bundesliga. Whilst still catchable, it seemed as if most of the Yellow giants' energy was being focused on Europe.

Dortmund would travel to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk, a team that had also qualified from a tough group consisting of Italian giants Juventus and defending European champions, Chelsea. The game was marred by a tragic plane crash, which was carrying Shakhtar supporters to the game.

Donetsk played extremely well but Dortmund were no pushovers and came away with two valuable away goals from a match which ended 2-2.

Dortmund were now touted as dark horses for the tournament and cut their odds of winning the Champions League when they took Shakhtar apart in the second leg, winning 3-0 and qualifying for the quarter-finals.

I was in delirium, Klopp had masterminded Dortmund's route to the quarter-finals and when they were drawn against Malaga, the feeling was that the semi-finals loomed.

But missed chances cost them in their first leg trip to Malaga, the game ending in a bore-draw. For the first time this season, Borussia Dortmund were considered favourites to win the match and one has to wonder if they felt the pressure going into the tie?

The second leg produced some nail-biting moments for the Dortmund fans as Dortmund were not playing like they had been - they were sloppy which allowed Malaga to take the lead and get an away goal which left them needing to score at least two. In the 40th minute however, Lewandoski rounded off a brilliant Dortmund move to level the tie.

In the second half, Dortmund’s confidence grew but when Malaga scored a second in the 82nd minute, it was as if all their efforts were in vein. Dortmund’s fairytale was surely about to end and Malaga’s was to continue. Then, into stoppage-time.

Dortmund, lofting the ball forward, running out of ideas, Marco Reus slotted the ball home but it seemed too little too late, the look on the goalscorers face didn’t seem to inject confidence into the Borussia faithful but a minute later, Dortmund defender Filipe Santana tapped the ball into the net to send Dortmund into the semi-finals, although the goal has caused much controversy since the moment it went in. However, Santana and Dortmund didn’t care, the goal stood and they are just a few steps away from European glory.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Subotic likened their Champions League season so far to a Hollywood film which echoes a statement from Frank Lampard, speaking to Sky Sports after he captained Chelsea to an unlikely Champions League win ten months before.

But can Dortmund really go all the way? Or will it finally be Bayern Munich’s year; the Bavarian juggernauts are sweeping aside competition domestically and in Europe.

Will Jose Mourinho get his hands on the trophy with his third different club? Or will Messi & Co. go on to capture another European title? Only time will tell but the semi-finals have some mouth-watering prospects.

With Dortmund’s young and energetic side, we can only hope that they dazzle Europe for years to come. They have etched themselves into a generation of football fans which will never ask what a Borussia Dortmund is.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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