You would mostly know what to expect when you’re facing Borussia Dortmund. Could be small fry Freiburg, or the most celebrated football club since time immemorial, the champions of Europe, Real Madrid., you will be shown disdain for your gumption to turn up at the Signal Iduna Park and expect to be allowed the ball.
Thomas Tuchel is carrying on the good work, and building upon the foundations laid by Herr Jürgen Klopp. The Geggenpressing devils have not lost their place as one of the most feared teams in the land, and remain the hardest to impose the style upon.
And thus it was, as Real Madrid took the lead twice only to be pegged back as many times, and it was a match as most big matches in Dortmund’s backyard, on a knife-edge. Yet among all the neck-break speed of play there were key lessons to be taken away by Tuchel and T4O.
#1 Real Madrid Have Learned Their Lessons
When Real Madrid usually play, they play with a lot of self-importance, and even a touch of hubris. In the past, they tried to go all guns blazing, only to be punched and plundered by the Prussians. This time, however, with Zinedine Zidane at the helm, the Los Meringues, opted for a more calculated approach, lest they be all gobbled up.
Real Madrid’s show of respect played in their favour, as they stood off the ball, and allowed Dortmund the monopoly of possession as they sat back, tottering on the balls of their feets, poised and primed to counter. Which they did, quite creditably, and effectively. While, it’s certainly a learning curve, and something that Real and Zizou should be commended for, for adapting their style; it’s as much a feather in cap of Thomas Tuchel.
#2 Dembele Is At The Best Club For His Development
Ousmane Dembele had a whole host of offers to consider from the far reaches of Europe. He even had a call from Borussia Dortmund’s ex, Jürgen Klopp. He spurned all of those opportunities, and opted to go for the most sensible one out there. Yes, Liverpool may have been as ideal, but he wouldn’t necessarily be turning up in a Champions League fixture, and pitting his wits, ability against Sergio Ramos, and getting a sore shoulder for his troubles. In terms of his development and scope, he’s perhaps in the best club in the world.
Make no mistake, he’s still a project, a rough diamond that would need to be cut and polished, as it was evident last night, his end product was lacking, yet, each moment he got on the ball was followed by a collective respiratory function of inhalation. He excites the most hardened of ultras.
#3 One’s Discard, Someone Else’s Treasure
Andre Schurrle’s move to Chelsea could have been a career-killer. Just ask Marko Marin – he was loaned to Fiorentina, Sevilla, Anderlecht and Trabzonspor. Yet, he persisted and showed his worth at Wolfsburg, and found himself subbed on against Real Madrid, instead of having to play vs Asteras Tripolis with Olympiakos, as Marin is now doing.
While he may be out for a few weeks, having aggravated his knee injury, he’d be recuperating with the knowledge that with his lightning strike that zapped into the top corner, he’d finally have a place to call home in Dortmund. The fans will love him.