Championship playful: Epic football drama: Dortmund is in mourning

Championship playful
Epic football drama: Dortmund is in mourning

The Borsigplatz in Dortmund remained empty after missing the championship. photo

© Bernd Thissen/dpa

Desperate fans, a crying coach and exhausted professionals – the humiliating knockout in the championship fight is causing BVB a lot of trouble. How quickly is the title trauma processed?

The Borsigplatz was deserted, the city center deserted. After the epic football drama, Dortmund was mourning. Instead of 300,000 fans at the originally planned car parade through the city, 100 die-hards were waiting for the BVB pros at the training ground.

What started out as a lavish title party at the end of a memorable season turned into a rather quiet team get-together with many still embarrassed faces. Media headlines such as the “biggest failure in Bundesliga history” also weighed on the mood of everyone involved.

Pictures of the crying coach Edin Terzic in front of the imposing south stand or of desperate professionals on the pitch will stay in the memories of everyone involved forever. “In terms of sport, it was the most difficult and bitter thing you can imagine. Today is also part of our path from now on,” admitted Terzic after the 2-2 (0-2) against FSV Mainz 05, with which the club played in the season finale lost the championship they believed to be safe.

Club boss Hans-Joachim Watzke was also deeply affected. “It hurts a lot. I’ve been doing this job for a long time, but yesterday it felt even worse than the lost Champions League final in 2013,” said the managing director of the “kicker” with a view to the final against FC Bayern Munich ( 1:2).

Bayern’s Musiala seals BVB Ko

In the gripping duel of the industry leaders, the Revierclub once again lost out – this time in a particularly painful way. Jamal Musiala’s late and decisive goal (89th minute) in Munich’s 2-1 victory in Cologne caused what is probably one of the greatest humiliations in the club’s history. “It will be difficult to process the whole thing. It will take more than a few days,” complained defense chief Mats Hummels.

Many football fans in Germany were reminded of Bayer Leverkusen’s mishap at the end of the 1999/2000 season, which earned the club the unflattering nickname “Vizekusen”. Or the misfortune of Schalke in the 2000/01 season, when the royal blues celebrated four minutes as the title holders and in the end only became “masters of hearts”. Now BVB joins the phalanx of spectacularly failed clubs.

Will this title trauma also leave undesired long-term damage in Dortmund? Just a few minutes after the final whistle, everyone involved tried to drive away the evil spirits. “No matter how big the pain is today, it will be the motivation for tomorrow,” said Terzic. Despite all the desperation, club boss Watzke sounded similarly combative: “BVB is a club that recovers quickly from something like this. We in the Ruhr area are doomed to get up again and again.”

The fact that BVB shares collapsed in pre-market trading on the Tradegate trading platform on Whit Monday may be dismissed as a short-term effect. The sporting consequences are likely to weigh more heavily. Season planning has long been in full swing, regardless of the final knock-out. In addition to Anthony Modeste, Mahmoud Dahoud, Felix Passlack and Luca Unbehaun, Raphael Guerreiro will also leave the Revierclub. “These farewells are obviously the hardest of my career given the thrill I felt playing in this wonderful stadium,” commented Guerreiro on his Instagram account, comforted by BVB captain Marco Reus.

Will Bellingham join Madrid?

The departure of Jude Bellingham is likely to be an even greater loss of sporting substance. The move of the 19-year-old England international to Real Madrid is considered a foregone conclusion. After the team meeting on Pentecost Sunday, the young star, who had meanwhile been voted “Player of the Season”, signed the soccer shoes and presented them to a BVB folder. Many observers took this as an indication of the close goodbye. A lot will depend on how cleverly BVB uses the assumed 120 million euro transfer proceeds to strengthen the team. “We’ll get up again. We’ll attack again at a certain moment,” promised sports director Sebastian Kehl.

Everyone involved was encouraged by the reaction of the fans, who celebrated Terzic and the pros with chants. “Of course everyone was disappointed at first and didn’t know what to do with their emotions. And yet the stadium was almost completely full and your cheers and attempts at encouragement were extraordinary,” commented Hummels, full of thanks to the Dortmund supporters. Not least because of this, the 2014 world champion sees the team as having a duty: “We’ll be back.”


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