It’s tight at the top. Very tight. We’re talking the summit of the Bundesliga, where Bayern Munich lead the chase from second-placed Borussia Dortmund with only goal difference separating the two. Each have 60 points and, in what could well be a title-deciding clash, they face each other next week in a match which promises to be a firecracker. First, though, BVB host Wolfsburg on Saturday in their first fixture since the international break.
Lucien Favre’s men go into the game with a victory under their belts from their last outing when they won a thrilling encounter with Hertha Berlin – the win owed much to their willingness to apply pressure on opponents right until the very end.
Indeed, Borussia Dortmund left it late but snared the three points despite Hertha Berlin twice taking the lead. The visitors drew level both times, though, with goals from Thomas Delaney and Dan Axel Zagadou. Then with time ebbing away, up popped the indefatigable Marco Reus who slotted home to make it 3-2.
Understandably, Favre was happy with the attitude of his side and was quick to point out that patience is a virtue when it comes to football games, adding: “You cannot dominate a team for 90 minutes. Hertha also had two or three big chances after counter-attacks. The first half was tough, but not bad. We did not dominate the game in the first half. The second half was much better. The victory was earned in the end. We really wanted to win because we knew we had to get the three points.”
For Reus, the victory displayed just how crucial team spirit can be and with vital matches coming up he knows only too well that the confidence gained from a triumph rather than a draw can be the difference between finishing first with the spoils or second with nothing other than a tag of runners-up.
He said: “We did not dare to play in the first half, but we still had opportunities that we gave away recklessly. We dominated the second half and played very well. We played better football and that’s why the win is deserved. With such a win in the 93rd minute, we get more confidence. It shows that we have mentality and character, we can build on that.”
Meanwhile, one player who is attracting more attention than most is Jadon Sancho, who left Manchester City to join the German powerhouse. And he will no doubt be linked with a move away from BVB in the summer — but Favre has warned that he is still young and has lots to accomplish before he is a the finished article.
He said: “He’s a very good player, a very talented player. He’s 19 and sometimes with 19 it’s up and down. He had played really, really well in first half of season and at the start of second half but he has highs and lows. He has a lot to learn, a lot of potential. But for every player who has talent there is no talent without hard work. Hard work is 90 per cent. Talent is 10 per cent.”