Dortmund (dpa) – It really wasn’t a magical evening this time. And yet all Dortmunders looked completely satisfied after the first European haunted house game in BVB history.
After all, the difficult 2-0 (0-0) at Zenit St. Petersburg initially dispelled the concerns about an early exit in the Champions League, which had arisen after the 1: 3 at Lazio Rome a week earlier. “This game will not go into football history,” said Michael Zorc, “but we are happy to take the three points with us.”
The sports director found it understandable that Borussia struggled for a long time and only broke through the guests’ defensive bar shortly before the end: “After the match at Lazio, there was pressure on the kettle.” This urge to have to win the duel with the Russians costs looseness and creativity, according to Zorc. Time and again Dortmund got stuck in the tightly spread defense of the opponent.
It was fitting for the gloomy game that only a penalty brought relief. An unnecessary foul on Thorgan Hazard, who had just been substituted, was punished with a penalty kick, which ice cold converted the previously weak Jadon Sancho (79th minute). Erling Haaland’s second goal in injury time cleared all remaining doubts.
BVB coach Lucien Favre looked downright lively despite his team’s mixed performances and referred to the guests’ wall tactics: “There were two buses in front of the goal. You have to be patient, otherwise you will soon have a counterattack.” Goalscorer Haaland saw it in a similarly pragmatic way: “We knew our chance was coming. These are very important three points.”
Known for their attacking power, Borussia was – if at all – convincing on the defensive. Just like four days earlier in the 3-0 victory in the Revierderby at FC Schalke 04, the defense again did not allow the opponent to shoot at goal. The fact that the team did not score a goal in four of the five Bundesliga games also indicates more stability. “That’s very, very good,” remarked Favre.
With a victory in the next group match next Wednesday at Club Brugge, which is second in the rankings after the 1-1 draw against Lazio Rome, one point ahead of BVB, Favre’s team would be back on track. But for that, the third Bundesliga has to pass Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday. “I expect Bielefeld to be much more aggressive than Zenit was today. We have to counter that, it will be a test,” said Zorc.