Self-confidence, a strong mentality and bundles of spirit are the kind of attributes that can help Borussia Dortmund build their togetherness as they head into an almighty tussle with Bayern Munich to claim the Bundesliga title.
That’s the view of Marco Reus, who was in the right place at the right time to snatch a last-gasp — 93rd minute — winning goal in the 3-2 victory over Hertha Berlin that keeps BVB level on points with the leaders, in second place only on a weaker goal difference.
Reus the saviour says he was surprised that Hertha played a relatively open game. He added: “We knew they would play man-on-man across the entire pitch. We didn’t really trust ourselves to go forward in the first period, but we still had opportunities that we carelessly missed. We dominated the second half and applied a lot of pressure.
“At that point we were playing the better football and so the victory was fair. We know it’s not currently flowing like it was in the first half-season. We’re having to work very hard to create chances and that is costing us energy, so we look laboured in the final third. But winning like that in the 93rd minute gives us more self-confidence. It shows we have a strong mentality and spirit; we can build on that.”
As his team head into an international break, manager Lucien Favre has reflected on the crucial win and concedes that the team’s display following the interval gave him heart. He said: “You can’t dominate a team for 90 minutes. Hertha also had two or three big chances following counter-attacks. The first half was difficult but not bad. We didn’t control the match in the opening half. The second period was much better.”
Despite the late nature of the victory, Favre says the win was ultimately deserved. He added: “There were so many good opportunities. It’s difficult to score a goal with your first touch like our winner. Beforehand we had opportunities that were easier to convert. What’s important is to win. We can always score goals. It would be good if we hadn’t conceded the two goals. We absolutely wanted to win as we knew we had to get three points today. Berlin have a good team and it’s not easy to play against them.”
Meanwhile, Danish midfielder Thomas Delaney knows only too well that BVB must not weaken at all as the run-in concludes and that victories are vital in all the remaining fixtures if they are to mount a serious challenge to Munich. He said: “We had to give everything, we worked hard as a team. It was difficult at the beginning but we played well in the second period and should’ve scored more goals. Hertha play man-to-man across the whole pitch. We didn’t react well to that in the opening half. We were too slow and didn’t cover enough ground. We know that we need to win all our games. For us as a team, a win like that is so important mentally.”
Dortmund are next in action at home to Wolfsburg on March 30. And in what is being seen as a mouth-watering prospect, they still have to go to Bayern Munich for a title showdown on April 6!