The “El Kloppico”, as the German press coined it, didn't disappoint - with a thrilling Europa League quarter final first leg between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool ending 1-1.
Daniel Sturridge controversially started the game on the bench, making way for Divock Origi. The selection paid off however as the young striker scored the match’s opening goal.
The score was brought level early in the match by Mats Hummels, who headed home unmarked on a Dortmund corner kick. Set pieces don’t plague Liverpool as often as they used to, but the old issue was not a welcome sight for the travelling Kop.
Divock Origi caps off magnificent first half with goal
The match started as electric as one would expect with both teams packing the kind of pace that keeps defenders always on their toes. Possession changed sides frequently as Liverpool’s pressing caused all kinds of trouble for Dortmund on the ball. The hosts did well at closing down passing lanes, often bringing Liverpool’s counter attacks to a screeching halt. As one side would gather the ball, it was brought up the field immediately as both sides consistently threatened at goal.
Dortmund had the first chance at goal as Henrikh Mkhitaryan was narrowly denied the opener. Julian Weigl started the hosts move with a beautiful chipped ball for Marco Reus on the byline. Reus played a perfect ball back into the box that evaded the Liverpool defense and found Mkhitaryan. The Armenian took his shot on the first touch and certainly would have found goal if it weren’t for Mamadou Sakho’s last second intervention to keep the scores level.
Not long after, Liverpool would nearly find the goal. James Milner lofted a long free kick on the right side of the box into the area. Dejan Lovren did well to remain onside as he headed the ball into the ground but directly at Roman Weidenfeller. The keeper spilled the ball but would collect it in the end.
The hosts had a long period of play where they consistently threatened the Liverpool goal. A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang free kick nearly found the bottom corner after a deflection off Origi. Aubameyang would consistently cause trouble for Liverpool, but the solid defense of Lovren and Sakho denied him at the door every time.
Origi would be the difference in the first half as the young Belgian broke the deadlock. Jordan Henderson’s flick on was found by Origi who had slipped in between the Dortmund center backs. With a bit of strength, he was able to hold off Lukasz Piszczek and slot past Weidenfeller for the opening goal.
A long period of stoppage time saw the visitors nearly double their advantage. With Liverpool on the break and Dortmund’s backline in shambles, Origi found himself on a one-on-one chance with Weidenfeller. Origi could not capitalize on the chance in the end as the wide frame of Weidenfeller easily snuffed out the chance, effectively closing out the end of the first half.
Dortmund strike back early in the second half
Within minutes of the second half beginning, Dortmund found themselves on level terms. Mats Hummels came running in unmarked on an early corner kick and headed home. Simon Mignolet was able to get his fingertips on the ball, but it wasn’t enough as Hummels put enough power on the header to ensure it found the net.
Liverpool reacted well to conceding that goal immediately threatened the Dortmund goal. Weidenfeller would make three saves over the span of 45 seconds, including a well-struck shot from Philippe Coutinho from 18 yards out. It was a mesmerizsng display that left the travelling Kop stupefied, wondering just how they hadn’t scored.
The ball would spend most of the second half in the final third of both sides. Very little midfield play occurred as either side looked like they could snatch the game at any moment. Dortmund would threaten the most after building up a nice bit of possession. However, Liverpool was executing well on the counter attack, consistently bringing the ball back into the Dortmund area in lightning speed.
Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge would enter the match late, but their presence was hardly felt as the match eventually came to a close. It was a frantic match that demanded attention from start to finish that somehow ended level. Liverpool will be happy with a 1-1 draw and a crucial away goal, especially in such an electric atmosphere as Westfalenstadion. Dortmund now have to travel to Anfield and face what is sure to be another famous European night.