"We're going to Berlin, but our thoughts are with Mateu. That hurts us. He's a super lad." Emre Can's sentiments were shared by every Black & Yellow after a semi-final win over Holstein Kiel that was comfortable but also came at a cost. The medical diagnosis is not yet complete, but it is feared that Mateu Morey will be out for a long time.
While appearing on "Sport1-Doppelpass" on Sunday morning, Sebastian Kehl spoke of a "serious ligament and capsule injury", adding: "In all honesty, that significantly dampened our feeling of happiness after the game. We're all feeling very, very sorry for the boy."
Up until the fateful moment when the Spaniard's leg got stuck in the turf and he twisted his knee, it had been a wonderful evening of football for the Black & Yellows. They were 5-0 up against Holstein Kiel, a margin no-one had expected against one of the promotion contenders from the second tier and the team that had knocked out Bayern. "We didn't underestimate Kiel," Emre Can said after the game. "We wanted to set the tone from the start. And we did that." It was already 4-0 by the half-hour mark thanks to goals from Giovanni Reyna (two), Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard, with Jude Bellingham rounding off the scoring in the 42nd minute.
"The way we went about it was good. We absolutely wanted to reach the cup final," explained head coach Edin Terzic, who revealed: "There were two ways to win this match: to be ready to embrace the fight like we did in the previous rounds against Paderborn and Gladbach – or to put our foot on the gas from the off and not let up." While they had let an even quicker 2-0 lead "slip out of their hands" in the game against Paderborn in February, this time "we kept going forward, forced the opponent into mistakes, kept up the quick link-up play and quickly saw our attacks through".
The feat of five goals in one half was achieved without striker Erling Haaland, who enthusiastically applauded each goal in the stands and is expected to return in time for the upcoming "Leipzig double-header". Haaland took a knock to his thigh last Saturday, as the 10-man Black & Yellows battled to a 2-0 victory in Wolfsburg. "I guess the classic way to describe it would be a dead leg," said Terzic. "We're optimistic that it won't last for too long and that he'll be available for our upcoming matches in the Bundesliga and the cup final."
Haaland's goals could be pivotal in achieving the dual objective of winning the cup and finishing fourth in the league. The team has hit form late but at the right time ahead of the season run-in. They have won five games in a row in league and cup, in addition to their two impressive performances against Manchester City (both 2-1 defeats). "Now we're consistently showing our quality."
Hopefully it stays that way!