The bitter winter for Kagawa’s BVB
By David Nienhaus (translation: Francois Duchateau)
A win like a clearance. Finally something to hold on. Or better said: Three points.
In Freiburg Borussia Dortmund won 3:0, convinced finally again with their style of play and fighted. Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and took the pressure of the shoulders of the Bundesliga giant, who had to win. Finally won. Finally not last of the Table again. The relief was as big as the crisis in Dortmund. Gigantic.
Everything should become different in the new year. The yellowblacks prepared under best conditions in La Manga, Spain for the second leg of the Bundesliga season. A few long time unjured came back into the squad and the tired and burn out World Cup players around Mats Hummels and Shinji Kagawa fueled up power. In the club they tried also to symbolize a positive athmosphere. The first leg of the season? Forget as fast as possible.
But the start in the new year was bad at the Strobelallee in Dortmund. The goalless draw at Bayer Leverkusen should have given security to the nervous and unsecure team, but against the surprising team of the league – FC Augsburg, a 0:1 loss came. The old muster from the first leg of the seasons were back again, not gone. Coach Jürgen Klopp seemed to be tired, his speaches you knew from the old year.
“The problem is the finding of a decision. We often pick the wrong decisions. We have to be more brave”, the coach was angry after the loss. Begin of october of the last year Klopp’s words were similar. He talked about “deepest point”, “starting point for the rest of the season”. It was a dark autumn for the Westphalians and it became a even more bitter winter.
With eleven defeats in the Bundesliga and just 18 goals scored, the Borussia was never worse in Bundesliga history. The slogan “Echte Liebe” (real love) became “Real Despair”. But that’s how it is with real emotions. These exploded after the loss against Augsburg. The fear of the fans was all present: Even the most loyal fans whistled their frustration from their soul. The team and the supporters were no unit anymore, for the first time. As the team on the pitch. “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” compared BVB after the 0:1 against Augsburg with a muscleman who even can’t carry a shopping bag anymore.
Only victories can repair the situation. For the BVB only the results matter. The playing concept: Does not matter. The muscles: Do not matter. The Champions League: Not important. Freiburg was the task for the German vice champion. And Dortmund delivered. In the match from the bottom of the league of the World Champion the team of Borussia Dortmund convinced totally.
Especially the tactical changes of Klopp worked out: “Aubameyang came for the unlucky Ciro Immobile as striker in the game, Reus played on wings, his role as playmaker was taken over by Shinji Kagawa”, analyzed Sebastian Weßling of “Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung” and underlined: “Especially the change of the quick Aubameyang was the most successful change.”
Dirk Krampe of Ruhrnachrichten commented: “The victory of BVB in Freiburg was important for the situation in the table. It was important for the damaged moral. Especially a long time forgotten feeling came back: How it is to win a game.” Dortmund gave the red lantern away, and climed some places in the table. A sign. A feel of relief.
This feeling was boosted on tuesday by a news that exploded like a bomb. Marco Reus, the superstar of Dortmund, who was on the transfer list of every top club in the world, extended his contract until 2019. Without buying option, without any “if”. “A strong signal, internally, but also externally”, Weßling of WAZ says. Especially in these kind of situations the symbol power of such a news is massive. The victory and his contract signing made the club getting closer again. The athmosphere at the Strobelallee has turned.
But the athomsphere of relief is a fragile construction, that can be easily get destroyed. Although there are all these positive news around BVB only the next three points count. “We really work hard to get as quick as possible out of the cellar of the table”, Shinji Kagawa explained. Dortmund does only look from game to game. That the club won’t reach their original goals, BVB has accepted. The fear of a worst case scenario, the relegation, was big.
The win against Freiburg was a first step upfront. If Dortmund has the chance to set the next step, the sorrow can become past. If Dortmund finally is in a safe water, the officials will start thinking about next season. Who are the players Dortmund can attack with again. Marco Reus will be part of them, that’s for sure now. Ilkay Gündogan and Mats Hummels should stay, too. And Shinji Kagawa? He wants to support BVB in future. And he wants to get his record as best japanese Bundesliga goal scorer. Shinji Okazaki has broken this record in this season.