While you were probably watching Liverpool vs. Tottenham on NBC, the best game of the day was taking place on another over-the-air TV network. It was over on Fox where Bundesliga sides Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen were playing out a wild game that featured five second half goals and three lead changes. But you probably missed it.
If there was ever a sign that soccer has arrived in the United States of America it’s that we now have access to so much of it we simply can’t even consume all of it. For the first time ever the German Bundesliga is widely available on US television and American shave responded by pretty much ignoring it.
And what a shame that is as this season the Bundesliga is serving up one their most exciting title races in recent memory. Prior to the season we all assumed Bayern Munich would simply run away with the league by April. After all that’s exactly what they’ve done each of the past three seasons.
But that’s not what happened. Remarkably, under new manager Thomas Tuchel, Borussia Dortmund have continued their torrid form from the second half of last season (they started the second half of the season in 17th place, they finished in seventh) and have kept pace with Bayern this season.
With just seven matches to go heading into Saturday’s matches, BVB sat just five points behind Bayern for first place in the Bundesliga. Admittedly, making up five points over seven games to a team that’s dropped in only five games this season is highly unlikely. But if five points is enough to consider Tottenham as very much in the title race in the Premier League, well then I can consider Dortmund as in the Bundesliga title race as well.
That set the stage for Dortmund’s match Saturday afternoon against Werder Bremen, a team at the other end of the table that desperately need points to avoid slipping into the relegation zone. After another uninspiring 1-0 win from Bayern (behind a Frank Ribery wonder goal) Dortmund would need to collect all three points in order to keep their slim title hopes alive.
Similar to the Liverpool vs. Tottenham match, BVB and Werder Bremen took a goalless draw into the half, with both teams feeling that they could have picked up a goal in the first half. If you’ve been watching Dortmund at all this season, what happened shortly after the halftime break wouldn’t surprise you in the slightest. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang broke through the Bremen defense, came in on goal and calmly slotted home Dortmund’s first.
It was Aubameyang’s 23rd league goal of the season and you’d be forgiven if you thought you knew how this would play out. Dortmund got their breakthrough at Signal Iduna Park, one of the most intimidating stadia in all of Europe, and now the floodgates would open, Bremen would fold and Dortmund would score a few more en route to a comfortable win.
Well that should teach you to never underestimate a squad playing for their top flight lives.
Werder Bremen did not fold. In fact, they pushed on and 16 minutes later they were rewarded when Alejandro Galvez’s shot off a corner took a deflection. Suddenly things were all even.
But Bremen weren’t settling for a draw. They kept pushing and five minutes later Zlatko Januzovic found some open space in the box, and Werder Bremen had shockingly taken the lead on Dortmund with just 15 minutes left to play.
The 15th place team had just comeback to take the lead on the second place team in the Bundesliga. A team fighting for the Bundesliga title, in one of the most difficult stadiums for visiting teams to play in no less.
At this point it’s safe to say that almost everyone inside of Signal Iduna Park was stunned. Everyone except for the 11 players wearing yellow shirts. Before Bremen could even realize that they had taken the lead, substitute Shinji Kagawa pulled the hosts level.
One point rescued was not going to be enough, Dortmund needed all three to keep their title hopes alive. American teenager and USMNT debutant Christian Pulisic replaced star winger Marco Reus for Dortmund and two minutes later BVB had another corner. That would be all they needed as the corner found the head of another substitute, striker Adrian Ramos.
High scoring games are nothing new in the Bundesliga, especially when Borussia Dortmund, one of the most dangerous attacking teams in Europe, are involved. You should give the Bundesliga a shot one weekend, for you never know when you’ll get a five goals in one half outburst.