JUST MAYBE

Pulisic and team celebrate.jpg

 

For several weeks Fox commentator and former Borussia player Jovan Kirovski has been claiming that Bayern will draw their final two games against Leipzig and Frankfurt, leaving open the possibility of Dortmund snatching the league title on the final day.  Well, the first part of his prediction came true on Saturday, as Bayern ran up against Leipzig’s league best defense and could not score a single goal.   Leipzig struggled to get the ball over midfield with Thiago and Goretzka putting on a suffocating display against the Leipzig counter.  Goretzka thought he had scored, but it was determined he was offsides during the buildup and the goal was pulled off the board.  It was as close as Bayern got to icing the title, and now Dortmund has a shot trailing by on 2 points with one left to play.

Dusseldorf was no push over for Dortmund.  In fact, Dortmund fans were in sheer panic mode for much of the second half.  Compounding the nervousness of having allowed a 2 goal lead slip away a week ago, Hitz’s performance subbing in for Burki in goal was simply disastrous.

Pulisic scores

Dortmund got on the board first.  Pulisic was prepared to put on a great display for the fans in his final appearance for Dortmund before his move to Stamford Bridge this summer.  He finally got his chance on a beautifully headed goal, coming from a perfect Delaney set up.   A perfect pass to a position deep in the box, where Delaney had slipped up unnoticed was met with a perfect header across the mouth of the goal for a fantastic finish from Pulisic as he matched Delaney’s perfectly hit cross with a graceful header of his own into goal. As impressive of a goal as they come, and it looked like Dortmund had come ready to compete for the title.

Out of nowhere, though, a Dusseldorf team that looked completely outclassed in the first half and ready to call it a season, struck back.  A long ball hit into the box was met with an Oliver Fink header at the goalie.  It was an attempt that any professional goaltender is going to stop 99% of the time, but  Hitz botched it.  The ball hit his hands but came down through his legs. It was not a play anyone would expect to see from a professional goalkeeper.   And just like that, the Dortmund fans went from comfortable that Dortmund was just better than Dusseldorf to panic that their back-up goaltender had destroyed any shot at challenging for the title on the final day.

Pulisc runs

Dortmund struck back though on an impressive display from Thomas Delaney in a game that may have been his finest for Dortmund all season.  A cross into the middle for Goetze was met by Goetze with a perfectly laid, short pass setting up a shot by Thomas Delaney.  Delaney fired with his right foot but it struck a Dusseldorf defender.  Delaney, though, was quickly on the ricochet and struck a perfectly angled shot with his left foot at goal.  It was a quick follow-up by Delaney and another impressive goal by Dortmund.

Pulisic duss action.jpg

Hitz, though, wasn’t done with his shambolic display in goal, and took down Lukebakio in the box, conceding the penalty.  Fortunately, the Belgian teen struck the post and Dortmund was let off easy.  Not long, thereafter, Bodzek from Dusseldorf saw red, after his studs up slide into Sancho’s knee.  Despite the man advantage, Dortmund looked far from confident.

Yet, Mario Goetze came up with a brilliant goal in injury time.   A ball bouncing high in the box was met with a perfect first touch by Goetze, who gathered control and quickly fired a perfect strike for goal there.   It looked like it was over, but it wasn’t.   Dusseldorf, who most expected at the start of the season to be relegated, continued to fight on.  Kownacki got one back for Dusseldorf, as Dortmund once again struggled in their defensive end to hang on to a lead.  3-2 with Dusseldorf threatening as the ref allowed the game to drag into the 7th and, then, 8th minute of injury time.  Near panic for the last few minutes by the Dortmund fans, but when the final whistle blew they knew they still had a shot at the title on the final day, given the Bayern draw in Leipzig, and a lead of only 2 goals over them.  A win over Borrusia Moenchengladbach on the final day will deliver them the title should Bayern do anything but beat Frankfurt.

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