Rarely is a team eliminated from a competition to the kind of standing ovation the Black & Yellows received on Tuesday night at a sold-out “BVB Stadium Dortmund”, as Signal Iduna Park is labelled on the international stage. Vociferous chants of support rang out from the South Stands at the end of an evening of football during which a world-class World Cup winner in the opposition goal did his utmost to ensure there would be no miracle. Hugo Lloris made saves to deny almost-certain goals from Marco Reus (21), Julian Weigl (33) and Mario Götze (34), while his defenders twice made tackles to thwart the Dortmund captain (11/34). That meant the home side still found themselves needing three goals at the break and once Harry Kane converted only the second chance of the night for the visitors soon after the restart, the game was up. “At that point we knew that it would be very difficult as we needed to score five goals,” said Lucien Favre, who was very satisfied with his team’s performance.
The South Stand have a genuine appreciation for performance, commitment and desire, which is why Dortmund’s departure from the European stage for the time being was followed by a showing of moral support rather than displeasure. Michael Zorc expressed a “huge thank you to the fans for their support throughout the match but especially for the gesture at full-time. That gives us a lot of energy for the coming weeks!”
Despite the defeat and despite the crushing nature – a 4-0 aggregate defeat – of their elimination from the UEFA Champions League, the team seemed to have learned their lessons from the hollow performances in Nuremberg (0-0 draw) and Augsburg (2-1 loss). By having 70 percent possession in the first period and creating six well-worked, clear-cut opportunities to score against a world-class team, the Black & Yellows showed the way forward. The team has proven how well, how focused and how passionately they can play football. And in doing so, they have set the benchmark for the 10 remaining matches that await them in their Bundesliga campaign.
The South Stand certainly seems to feel a turning point is afoot following a series of recent results that have seen their side drop points. “Only BVB will become German champions” was the chant ringing out around the ground at a deafening volume after the final whistle.