Time to get back to watching some football, and what better way than a bit of Friday night Bundesliga.
Dortmund travelled the short distance to the BayArena to take on the league leaders, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Dortmund club.
LEVERKUSEN: Adler – Schwaab, Friedrich, Hyypia, Castro – Barnetta, Bender, Vidal, Kroos – Derdiyok, Kiessling
DORTMUND: Weidenfeller – Owomoyela, Subotic, Hummels, Dede – Kuba, Bender, Sahin, Valdez – Zidan, Barrios
A few players a knew already but quite a few I was seeing for the first time, the Bender brothers were pointed out by ESPN before the game so was interested to see them, and I had never heard of Barrios before, and alot of names I know but not seen play, so was very interested.
Overall it was a good game, the first half far more enjoyable and both teams playing an attractive style of football, just after Lars Bender had a great chance to open the scoring for Leverkusen it was Dortmund who took the lead, Vidal lost the ball in the midfield, some good work from Valdez his cross was headed expertly past Adler by Argentine striker Lucas Barrios, Leverkusen should have been level when Derdiyok had a clear header from Kroos’ cross but he headed wide, it was a very open first half both teams showing attacking intent, Dortmund looking a better team than their middle table position shows, however Leverkusen again nearly pegged them back just before half-time, Toni Kross again with the free kick, it was met by Sami Hyypia but his header whistled just past the post, how Liverpool could do with someone of Sami’s aerial ability right now at set-pieces.
The second half didn’t start with the same attacking intensity as the first and for 20 minutes there was nothing worth mentioning, then Leverkusen won a corner after a contentious free kick, Barnetta swung the ball in and Manuel Friedrich rose highest and and powered a great header past Weidenfeller, it looked like now Dortmund would have to fight if they wanted a point from this game, Friedrich and Barnetta going close 5 minutes after the goal, the game seemed to fizzle out though, no more clear cut chances, and both teams in the end deserved to go away with something, Dortmund the better team in the first half but Leverkusen much the better in the second.
I liked the partnership of Kiessling and Derdiyok upfront for Leverkusen seems a very busy pairing, both players have some pace and like to run, then you have the height and aerial ability of Kiessling, and then Derdiyok brings pace and ability, with both players being quite young this could be deadly in a few years.
Vidal had a quiet game, Barnetta was lively down the flank, always been a fan of his, technically sound player, decent pass, good passer of the ball, was good to see Toni Kroos, alot of potential needs games and is getting them at Leverkusen, didn’t do alot from open play but his dead ball were always causing problems.
Hyypia was solid as he has always been and is showing why it was a mistake by Rafa Benitez to let him go for free, commanding in defence, deadly in the air, could easily still play in the premiership, his partnership with Friedrich is full of maturity and experience.
I was happy to see Dortmund playing some good football, and they have some nice players, Hummels and Subotic look a good pairing at the back and will continue to grow together, Dede is in with the bricks at Dortmund, 12 years service, doesn’t happen at all any more, the midfield looks a little young to me, Sahim, Bender and Kuba have an average age of 21, I wonder how much they could progress with an experienced player in there to help them.
Zidan was very quiet upfront forgot he was playing at one point, Valdez impressed, a flop when he first signed but did very well out on the left battled back hard when Dortmund didn’t have the ball and a great cross for Barrios’s goal.
Lucas Barrios I think will be a name to remember, having not heard of him at half time, I search Wikipedia for some details and for Colo Colo he had 49 goals in 53 games, that is very impressive, 2 in 6 for his new club, if he can settle quickly he could be a player to watch, his header for the goal was superb, and he was always busy and trying to make something happen.
Last players I wanted to mention was Lars and Sven the Bender brothers, both look very decent young players, playing at the heart of the midfield they had a good battle and honours were shared in the Bender household, definitely two players to keep an eye on, and who would count against a pair of Benders in the German midfield in the years to come 😉
MATCH RATING 7.5/10
M.O.M – Lucas Barrios – Dortmund