Borussia’s eventful year is over and we are looking back at 2017, Today, November and December.
Borussia were up against Mainz in their first November league fixture. The Fohlenelf struggled to get themselves into the game in the first half, misplacing passes and losing the ball too often. The hosts, on the other hand, were playing well and took the lead through a Diallo header. In the second half, Borussia looked the stronger side and managed to find the equaliser through Jannik Vestergaard. The Fohlenelf’s hard work was nearly undone by the final whistle but fortunately a Mainz free-kick came back off the bar. “We showed good team spirit and deserved to get the equaliser,’ summarised Borussia Sporting Director Max Eberl.
The Fohlenelf recorded their fourth consecutive away win of the season when they beat Hertha BSC 4-2 in Berlin. Lars Stindl, Thorgan Hazard and Raffael all scored in the first 20 minutes to secure what surely looked to be an early victory for the Fohlenelf. Hertha, however, did not let their opponents win easily. Borussia began to slack off and the hosts got themselves back into the game through goals from Ibisevic and Weiser, but Raffael scored his second for Borussia just minutes later to secure the win. “We are delighted about the result. We were in the right positions at the right times to get the all-important goals,” said Hecking.
Next, the Fohlenelf hosted FC Bayern München at BORUSSIA-PARK. The Fohlenelf looked organised from kick-off and put on an impressive defensive performance. Borussia got themselves in front by scoring two first-half goals on the counter, one from Thorgan Hazard and the other from Matthias Ginter. The Fohlenelf remained defensively compact in the second half and did not let the table leaders create any clear-cut chances until the 74th minute when they got a goal back through Arturo Vidal. “We put on an incredibly good performance today. This win feels particularly good,” said Hecking.
The winter months were full of highs and lows and Borussia could not maintain their streak of consecutive away wins in Wolfsburg. The Fohlenelf fell behind after just four minutes and were already 2-0 down with just 25 minutes gone. Borussia began to play better at the half-an-hour mark but were struggling to open up goal scoring opportunities. Instead, Guilavogui scored for Wolfsburg in the 70th minute to secure a 3-0 victory. “We fell asleep for the first 25 minutes. We were not aggressive enough today and that is frustrating,” said Eberl.
The Fohlenelf made a much better start to their next league game against FC Schalke 04, taking the lead early in the 23rd minute through Christoph Kramer. Borussia continued to look for the second goal after the break but instead gifted their opponents with the equaliser through a Vestergaard own goal. The match ended 1-1.
Next up, SC Freiburg. The match did not start favourably for Borussia after the referee awarded a penalty to SC Freiburg for a foul on Nils Peterson who then gave the guests the lead from the spot. The Fohlenelf found it difficult to get themselves back into it for the duration of the 90 minutes and the match finished 1-0 to Freiburg. “We have to admit that Freiburg were simply the better side today,” summarised Hecking.
Borussia found themselves at home for the last league fixture of the Bundesliga year against Hamburger SV. The Fohlenelf put on early pressure and deservedly took the lead through Thorgan Hazard. Borussia looked fully in control and even hit the woodwork twice in the first half, however in the second half, they conceded the equaliser. Later in the game, Borussia looked in control again and managed to secure the victory thanks to two goals from Raffael. “We deserved to win today. The team reacted well to conceding the equaliser and did well to get back in front,” praised Eberl.
Unfortunately, the Fohlenelf did not end the year on the high and were knocked out of the DFB Cup in the quarter-final by Bayer Leverkusen. Borussia played well for long periods of the game and even had the better share of chances, but Leon Bailey got the hosts in front finally with a header in the 70th minute. Borussia gave it their all in the later stages to get themselves back in game but just could not get the equaliser. “In my opinion, it was the better side that got knocked out of the competition today,” said Hecking. “We were strong defensively and dictated the majority of the game at a high tempo but did not make the most of our chances going forward.”