Thorsten Fink’s charges record their first win and end Dortmund’s unbeaten record
By Colin Stone
If anyone was going to put an end to Borussia Dortmund’s unbeaten run, it had to be Hamburg. It was destined to be them.
But coming into Saturday’s game, the odds were firmly stacked against the fallen giants. Dortmund had started the season strongly, taking 7 points from a possible 9, while the hosts were yet to register a point and had only scored a measly two goals. Hamburg’s opponents were also just coming off a midweek Champions League win over Ajax. It was looking ominous for Thorsten Fink’s men.
But when 20-year-old wonderkid Heung-Min Son put HSV 1-0 up within 120 seconds, all of that went out the window.
For the next 90 minutes, Fink’s frustratingly inconsistent Hamburg showed the tenacity and vigour which had once made them title contenders, but also displayed the ineptitude and lack of discipline which saw them narrowly avoid relegation last term.
Although Dortmund largely controlled the first half, launching a barrage of attacks towards the Hamburg goal, neither Marco Reus nor Robert Lewandowski could find a way past German stopper Rene Adler. However, it was Croatian playmaker Ivan Perisic who levelled the game up with a stunning volley just 22 seconds into the second half before Ivo Ilicevic handed the home team the initiative again with a superb strike just minutes later.
The “Korean Müller” Son then further extended his side’s advantage with a tremendous solo run and finish on the hour mark, but the impressive Perisic cut the deficit one more to give the game a grandstand finish at 3-2.
Yet despite peppering Adler’s goal with more than 25 shots over the course of the game and keeping their hosts pinned back in their own penalty box for the final 15 minutes, Dortmund simply could not find that elusive equaliser as a Son-inspired Hamburg held on for a crucial and historical victory.
As well as handing HSV their first points of the new season and ending their winless streak, the 3-2 triumph also put a stop to Borussia Dortmund’s incredible 31-game unbeaten run, which stretched back 369 days.
BVB were within four games of surpassing Hamburg’s own undefeated stretch, a league record 36-game unbeaten run from the 1982-83 season, but this weekend’s victory kept that streak intact.
Coach Thorsten Fink, however, was keeping a cool head about the way his side performed.
“We turned in an efficient showing today and it’s great to get this boost,” the 42-year-old said after the game. “I think we’ve turned a corner.”
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp bemoaned his side’s “poor efforts” but vowed to bounce back, despite already sitting five points adrift of first place.
The champions’ next domestic trip is to one of the only two sides in the Bundesliga with 12 points from 12 – and it’s not Bayern Munich.
After Friday night’s 2-1 win over Nurnberg, unfancied Eintracht Frankfurt sat at the top of the league standings, becoming the first ever newly-promoted side to win their opening four matches in the process.
A confidence-boosting 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen on the opening day set the tone for Armin Veh’s men, who have since beaten Hoffenheim and Hamburg 4-0 and 3-2 respectively.
Frankfurt’s initial aim of avoiding the drop looks to have been already ticked off the list.
Japanese starlet Takashi Inui, who upstaged his countryman Hiroshi Kiyotake in Friday night’s battle of the “New Kagawas”, will have to try and replicate the outstanding solo goal he scored against Nurnberg if his side are to stand any real chance of taking anything from the Dortmund game.
Nevertheless, Frankfurt will be feeling the omens come Tuesday’s game, as the last time Frankfurt met Dortmund at home back in 2010-11, a goal from a certain Theofanis Gekas ensured that Die Borussen returned home empty-handed.
Gameweek 4 – Results
Schalke 0-2 Bayern Munich
Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Gladbach
Hoffenheim 3-1 Hannover
Werder Bremen 2-2 Stuttgart
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-0 Freiburg
Hamburg 3-2 Borussia Dortmund
Mainz 2-0 Augsburg
Wolfsburg 1-1 Greuther Furth
Nurnberg 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt