A Trip to Signal Iduna Park

Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen

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After witnessing a fantastic game at Köln the day before, Jupp, Dad and I were treated to yet another corker (verkorker) at Signal Iduna Park, home to top of the league Borussia Dortmund. Despite England being well beaten by the Welsh in the Six Nations, we remained in good spirits. The curry at Royal Punjab helping matters (Garlic Chilli Chicken rarely disappoints).

Having had a pleasant mid-day stroll along the Rhein, the football buzz was kicking in. Kick-off was to be at 6pm, so there was plenty of time to make the 1-hour train journey to Dortmund. The train, which we got on at Köln Messer Deutz picked up a combination of Leverkusen and Dortmund fans, but there was no sign of any argy-bargy. Upon arrival in sunny Dortmund, we had a quick whistle-stop tour of the city centre (not much there, wee bit like Swindon town centre).

Then we duly made our way to the ground, in typical German fashion, by taking another train. The folk on this train were sinking tinnies and getting their vocal chords ready for the game. We were ready.

Signal Iduna Park cast its mahoosive shadow over the approaching spectators as the atmosphere built. The place was crammed already, approximately 2 hours before kick-off. Personally, I would have liked to pop into the club shop, but the queue was hefty. So, instead we stopped for a quick drink. To quench my thirst I opted for a Colabier, which was strange but not bad at all.

Then we made for the terraces. We discovered we were not in the Yellow Wall, but directly opposite in the North Stand. This turned out better, as it meant we weren’t bashed all over the place and we could actually just stare at how mental it was for 90 minutes. Warm-ups commenced after we had navigated ourselves into a decent viewing position.

81,000 singing You’ll Never Walk Alone (Celtic chant or not) was incredible. The noise was blistering. Not sure whether it topped Hennes at Köln, though. The Yellow Wall was bouncing, literally.

Leverkusen were the better team in the first-half. They controlled possession and had the better chances. Their ultras were in good voice and the pyros were set off. However, after 30 minutes the big Dortmund centre back Zagadou tapped in a simple goal to unleash crazy celebration around the ground. Beer thrown everywhere. Shortly after, Kevin Volland equalised with a daisy-cutter shot into the right corner and the Leverkusen fans had their turn celebrating.

But then, Sancho. Big Jadon. Instantly from the restart, the English wonderkid belted a beaut of a volley into the Leverkusen goal. We were right behind it. An absolute stunner. TOOOOOOR! That was what I wanted to see. The next Theo Walcott? We’ll have to wait and see. 2-1.

The second-half continued to be really competitive, but Dortmund extended their lead when Mario Götze, looking a wee bit podgy in truth, curled in another great goal. Anton Rodgers would have been proud of that one. 3-1. However, Leverkusen were unlucky to lose the game come the finish. They got one back from a set piece (goal scorer completely unmarked), and had a couple of attempts saved by Bürki, who had a stormer in goal.

I’m no German football expert, but I could see why Dortmund were beaten comprehensively by Spurs. They looked a bit frail at the back, and without Marco Reus, they often found themselves passing sideways and lacking a bit of spark. Had Leverkusen taken their chances, they could have stolen the points. But, all in all, what an experience. One every football-enthusiast should try. Uppa Dortmund.

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