In our 55th UEFA Europa League match today we won 2-1 away at Borussia Dortmund to put ourselves in a superb position ahead of the second leg at home in Salzburg.
EUROPean night gives our boys wings
As to be expected, we did not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the imposing surroundings of Signal Iduna Park, going straight on the attack. As soon as the second minute we had our first promising attack, only for the referee Vincic to pull it back for an apparent offside from Valon Berisha. The first attack of the German Bundesliga outfit came in the 6th minute, as Schürrle smashed the ball well over. Shortly after that, youngster Amadou Haidara tried his luck, but hit the ball wide to the right (9'). We were defending extremely well and disrupted the Germans early in their build-up play. After 20 minutes, we were able to increase our share of possession and increasingly penetrate the hosts' area. Stefan Lainer tried to make his mark and sent in a cross to the middle, where a Dortmunder intercepted it (22'), before cutting it back for our Israeli, who got to the ball a little too late to have a hope of finishing it (25'). In the 27th minute, our South Korean, Hwang, went agonisingly close with a header after being set up by Stefan Lainer. We were just missing that little bit of fortune! Borussia Dortmund had rediscovered their love of attacking by this stage, but our defence and Walke in goal were standing more than firm. We then got some more top chances to take the lead! Hee Chan Hwang had another go just before the break, but after he was set up with a textbook ball from Xaver Schlager, he could only hit it to Dortmund goalie Bürki. Straight after that Munas Dabbur took aim once more, only for Schmelzer to scramble the ball away from the goal line (40') – damn! We then had another corner, that Götze could clear (41'). Shortly before half-time, Dabbur tried to play Hwang through, and his shot took a slight deflection and hit the right post (45+1'). We therefore went into the dressing room with the score goalless at half-time!
in top gear
We had ended the first-half on a real high, and we made an equally purposeful start to the second 45! Amadou Haidara was buzzing around but shot straight at Bürki a minute after the restart (46'). Just two minutes later, Toprak brought Hwang down in the penalty area – and after consulting with his assistants, the Slovenian referee pointed to the spot! Our Kosovar Valon Berisha stepped up to take the penalty and converted clinically. We therefore took a 1-0 lead away in front of 50,000 spectators – incredible (49')! Sensational stuff for our side! That wasn't it though, as a little while later, Bürki's net was bulged again as Valon smashed in from the back of the area after a pass from Lainer to leave the Dortmund goalkeeper helpless (56'). A little while later, Dortmund pulled it back to 1-2 with Schürrle, who was fortunate to bundle the ball over the line after Pulisic whipped it in (62'). We soon went on the attack again though. In the 75th minute, we had a good opportunity fall to our substitute, Norwegian Fredrik Gulbrandsen, who hit the ball right at Bürki though. A short while later, Takumi Minamino zipped the ball just wide of the left post after coming onto the field (78'). Bürki was made to sweat again when Stefan Lainer went agonisingly close from a corner (82'). In the last five minutes, our opponents had two corners, but there was no real danger from these for Alexander Walke in our goal. We held on for a richly deserved 2-1 win, and we are now going to really enjoy our journey back to Salzburg with a result that offers a more than superb position to take into the second leg at home in a week's time.
So many fans came to support us today, and we were able to make them happy. We are really pleased about that! You saw that the change of system made us lose some of our fluency at the start, and we felt more comfortable after that with the diamond. We gave Dortmund little chance to breathe and we defended really hard. In the end it was probably a deserved win today, but nothing is decided yet.
We took the first step. We are pleased to win, but we won't be celebrating yet. Our opponents are extremely strong and can come back still at any stage. Our mentality was superb today, and you could see that on the pitch.
We are at half-time in the tie, and the result is very good for the second leg, but we haven't won anything yet. It was a very good performance from the whole team today, our mentality was spot on, and we can be proud of the result in the first leg.