Wild exchange of blows at VfB: Joker Knauff counters BVB for a late victory

Wild exchange of blows at VfB
Joker Knauff counters BVB for a late victory

Borussia Dortmund has to fight for participation in the Champions League. And VfB Stuttgart is a tough opponent on the 28th matchday of the Bundesliga. But then comes Joker Ansgar Knauff – and unpacks a real blast.

Thanks to the teenager Ansgar Knauff, Borussia Dortmund has preserved its small remaining chance of the Champions League ranks and fueled further self-confidence for the top-class cracker against Manchester City. Four days before the quarter-final second leg against the English star ensemble, BVB turned a fast-paced game at VfB Stuttgart and deservedly won 3: 2 (0: 1).

The 19-year-old Knauff scored the winning goal in the 80th minute from the edge of the penalty area. The Dortmund deficit in fourth place is still seven points. “It’s been an unbelievable week for me,” said Knauff on Sky about his starting XI debut during the week against Manchester City and now his first Bundesliga goal. “I came in, wanted to do my best. I’m glad it worked,” said Knauff. When asked why he was in such a good mood at the moment, he replied with a smile: “I don’t know either.”

Reus struck again

Borussia was initially neither deterred by the deficit by the 14th goal of the season by VfB striker Sasa Kalajdzic (17th), nor by the loss of Mats Hummels. The defense chief had to be replaced during the break because of stomach cramps.

Then the tide turned: Youngster Jude Bellingham (47th) with his first Bundesliga goal and captain Marco Reus (52nd) with his first league goal since December made Borussia cheer. But Reus also limped into the cabin after being substituted (67th). Daniel Didavi equalized again (78th) before Knauff struck with his first goal.

BVB coach Edin Terzic had promised before the game at Sky that his team would “not let the total loss” against competitor Frankfurt (1: 2) stand and “show the Champions League face seven times” in the league. But grandstand guest Joachim Löw should be reminded of the recent appearances of the DFB-Elf at half time: A lot of effort, field superiority – but massive inefficiency in the attack.

There the prodigy Erling Haaland rubbed himself on, but again he got too few balls and had a difficult time against the initially very attentive VfB three-man chain. That Stuttgart lacked some important strengths and that the former Borussiae Gonzalo Castro (muscular problems) also fit in at short notice had to, didn’t matter at all.

Matthew appalled at halftime

VfB sought salvation by quickly switching to winning the ball – and so came to the lead. Goal scorer Kalajdzic initiated the attack himself, and when the ball hit Borna Sosa on the left wing, a Dortmund player shouted: “Don’t let the cross!” But Sosa did just that – and found the head of two-meter giant Kalajdzic.

Reus (34th) missed the opportunity to equalize and Lothar Matthäus scolded Sky during the break: “Nobody plays like that who wants to go to the Champions League.” But that changed immediately after the restart. Bellingham made it 1-1 after a clever back pass from Gio Reyna. And after a quick attack over Reyna and Mateu Morey, Haaland let through for the free-standing Reus, who shot in from the left from eleven meters.

Of course, this was not the decision. Stuttgart turned up again, soon had a lot more speed in the game and had good opportunities. Tanguy Coulibaly (66.) forgave before substitute Daniel Didavi (78.) still met. Two minutes later Knauff struck.