Borussia Dortmund defeated Werder Bremen 4-3 to end their domestic season in third position. The dramatic win saw them secure automatic qualification for the group stage of next season’s Champions League.
The visiting side had a perfect start to the match, as they clinched the opener through Junuzovic in the 7th minute itself. His close range strike, which had to be validated by goal-line technology, fired his team ahead despite the best efforts of Burki. Marco Reus pulled his side level in the 32nd minute, as he pounced upon Kagawa’s assist to slot home the ball with a sweet, low finish. Aubameyang then put his side ahead just before half-time, as he scored a thunderous volley from a sublime assist from Dembele.
The second half saw Bremen more direct, and it rewarded them almost immediately, as they scored the leveller through Fin Bartels’ fine finish. Max Kruse gave his side the lead again with a shot that looped up into the net, following a great pass from Junuzovic. However, there was still plenty of drama left in the game, as Dortmund came from behind and took all three points courtesy of two penalty kicks. The first one was scored by Reus, who was tripped inside the area by Gnabry. The second one, which proved to be the winner, was awarded after Bargfrede brought down Pulisic inside the box. Aubameyang made no mistake from the spot, as he slotted past Wiedwald’s right, rupturing wild celebrations in every corner of Signal-Iduna Park.
The win saw the home side claim the third place and clinch UCL qualification, while Bremen came agonisingly close to Europa League qualification.
Here are the Major Talking Points from the Match-
Reus Saves the Day
Marco Reus has been a star for Dortmund, without question. He’s got a knack of scoring extremely important goals, and he managed a brace tonight which helped his side seal UCL qualification. He scored a leveller twice, first through a fine low finish and then through a well-struck penalty. Had it not been for his ability to strike at the right moment the match could’ve turned out pretty different. He’s been in superb form since his return from injury, as he’s now scored six goals in his last eight appearances.
Dortmund MUST Do Everything to Keep Hold of Auba
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had another superb season, as his brace tonight helped him top the scoring charts with 31 league goals, one more than Lewandowski. His scintillating form in recent seasons has led to a dramatic rise in clubs looking for his signature, and he’s been linked with moves to Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid and most recently, China. However, he would leave a big hole in the squad were he to leave, as it would be very difficult to find a capable replacement for the poacher. Thus, Dortmund must try and do everything they can to keep hold of their prized asset, even if it appears like he’s already made up his mind on leaving.
Kruse Good Enough for Bigger Clubs
Max Kruse gave us another reminder why he’s considered as one of the best German strikers right now, as he scored a fine goal and registering a superb assist for Bartels’ goal. This season saw him single-handedly help his team mount a fight for Europe, and his superb season hasn’t gone unnoticed, as he’s being linked to bigger clubs only a year after signing for his current side. Maybe he needs a perfect move to reignite his career and put his past behind him.
This match marked Bartra’s first appearance for Dortmund since the bomb blast on his team bus ahead of their UCL clash with Monaco, which left him with an injury on his hand and wrist which later required surgery. The highlight of his match was his brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny Kruse of a goal in the 51st minute, after Gnabry had sent him through on goal. Bartra has been desperate to return before the season end, and it was great to see him mark his return with a fine performance.
Question Mark over Tuchel’s Future
Thomas Tuchel is a superb manager, no doubt, but another underwhelming season has seen him being heavily pushed to the exit door. Managing a third place finish in the league when you’re expected to challenge for the title does no good, and failing to get past UCL Last-Eight was a big disappointment as well. However, he did have his highs as well, as his side defeated arch-rivals Bayern Munich to win the German Cup. Also, in his two seasons at the helm of Dortmund, his side have NEVER lost a home league game. Still, with the quality and talent at his disposal, this has been a below-par season, and he’s resultantly in danger of losing his job to either Lucien Favre or Julian Nagelsmann in the post-season.