Pictures and moments that will live long in the memory
"We just had another goosebumps moment in front of the South Stand," said Marcel Schmelzer after the victory over Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon. The Borussia Dortmund captain had still clearly not overcome the shock four days after the bomb attack on the BVB Team Bus, which – if anything – makes the reaction that he and his team-mates showed against the Eagles all the more remarkable.
"I'm very satisfied with the first half," said Thomas Tuchel as he focused first on the sporting aspects. "I think that we had a good presence about us and, in addition to the large amounts of possession we had, there was a lot of intensity in our game – with a lot of sprints. We performed very courageously in every phase. In the second period we fought for the victory with everything we had and in the end scored a goal on the counter to seal a deserved victory."
"Borussia Dortmund will never be destroyed!"
Yet the deserved 3-1 victory over Frankfurt – during the first half of which both teams conjured up some fantastic football, topped off by some even more fantastic goals – faded into the background immediately after the final whistle. "The match definitely distracted us more than the game we played on Wednesday less than 24 hours afterwards," said Schmelzer. "But I think you could see after the final whistle that everything we had suppressed during the game came back to the surface."
Schmelzer was of course referring to the scenes that took place in front of the South Stand. Scenes which underscore the incredible bond within the Black and Yellow family and which made hairs stand on the back of necks again today – whether you were a player, a fan in the crowd or watching on television at home. "Aber eins, aber eins, das bleibt besteh’n: Borussia Dortmund wird nie untergehn" ("But one thing, one that will never change: Borussia Dortmund will never be destroyed") rang from the stands as the fans sang the famous line from the club anthem. The players, standing arm in arm in front of the South Stand, starred spellbound up at the Yellow Wall. In front of them lay a shirt bearing the name of Marc Bartra, who was injured in Tuesday's attack. It was a moment that will live long in the memory.
"We're dedicating this victory to Marc," said Schmelzer, a sentiment that was later echoed by goalscorer Sokratis, who dedicated his spectacular strike that put the hosts 2-1 ahead to his absent central defensive partner. "I think that was the best goal I've scored in my career to date," said the Greek, adding: "This goal was for Marc and his family." The Spaniard, who was released from hospital on Saturday, tuned it to watch on television at home and was active on social media during the course of the match, sending his thanks for the wonderful scenes and celebrating his team-mates' goals. Which, after all, were rather spectacular.
"Wonderful interaction with the crowd"
The match was barely three minutes old when Marco Reus broke the deadlock with a delicate flick following excellent link-up play between Aubameyang and Pulisic. Sokratis' thunderbolt made the score 2-1 with ten minutes of the first half remaining, before Aubameyang wrapped up the points four minutes from time after Nuri Sahin had picked out Ousmane Dembélé with a wonderful pass. "When Sokratis shoots, it could be a throw-in, it could be a goal," said Thomas Tuchel with a wink in his post-match interview, before going on to add: "It was the perfect goal, at the perfect time."
The coach was certainly spot on when it came to analysing the match itself and the scenes that followed. "My players showed great character. They did on Wednesday and they have again today. For that they deserved the biggest-possible compliment," said Tuchel. "What they did after the final whistle with the shirt in front of the stand was a wonderful gesture from the team. Marc Bartra is an integral figure in this team. One can see how the team works, what great characters we have and that they really see themselves as a unit. There was a great interaction with the crowd today, who probably have more of a feel for such situations than you could get anywhere else. That's what brings about moments like these." Moments that will never be forgotten.