Saturday, May 23, 2009

a great start to the centennial

The Dortmunders incredible push came up one step short as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach. In an incredible turn of events, it looked like that would be enough to see them through as Hamburg was deadlocked against Frankfurt before Piotr Trochowski added a injury-time goal to send his side to the Europa League.

The hosts strategy was clear, to nullify BVB's attack first and go forward with safer countering measures. With veteran Tomáš Galásek controlling the defensive line they bent to BVB's pressure but could only be broken once. Die Schwarzgelben had a number early chances to score, most falling to Nelson Valdez but each was off course. Opportunities slowed to a more cautious tone in the later stages of the opening half with the exception of Dante registering Gladbach's lone chance as he headed soon-to-be Bayern man Alexander Baumjohann's corner off the post. The hosts grabbed a shock lead three minutes before the hour as Dortmund, playing a man down temporarily as Felipe Santana was receiving medical treatment, allowed Dante to crash into the box and headed-in Baumjohann's corner. BVB pressed to level and did so four minutes after the hour as Sebastian Kehl sent a long ball that got past Paul Stalteri to Jakub Błaszczykowski with Kuba executing the final touch to perfection near the spot. With nineteen minutes left the Polish international was substituted for Mohamed Zidan but that seemed to have a detrimental impact on BVB's flanking assaults. Despite the continued efforts the match ended even and the Dortmunders Europa League dream ended.

Although the disappointment of not earning a spot in European football "stings", this was a incredible start to the centennial celebration. Die Schwarzgelben waved with pride in the Rückrunde, the fourth best result in the Bundesliga and one that provides great promise for the future.