A stunning strike from 18-year-old Giovanni Reyna gave Borussia Dortmund a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, who drew their fifth successive Bundesliga game on Saturday.
FRANKFURT: A stunning strike from 18-year-old Giovanni Reyna on Saturday earned Borussia Dortmund a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, who drew their fifth successive Bundesliga game.
Daichi Kamada gave the hosts a ninth-minute lead but, despite missing leading scorer Erling Haaland with a hamstring injury, Dortmund took control after halftime and U.S. midfielder Reyna levelled with the second Bundesliga goal of his career.
Dortmund, who had not drawn in their previous 27 league games, are third with 19 points from 10 games ahead of the top-of-the-table clash between leaders Bayern Munich (22) and RB Leipzig (20) later on Saturday.
Eintracht, without a win in eight games in all competitions, are eighth with 13 points.
“In the end, we can be satisfied,” said Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.
“We always want to win but it wasn’t a good first-half performance. The second half was better, with more intensity and movement, we just needed that little bit more to win……I’m always okay with a point.”
The home side made an impressive start and had gone close on two occasions before Martin Hinteregger released Kamada and the Japanese forward controlled the ball with his first touch and beat goalkeeper Roman Buerki with a deft finish.
After Jadon Sancho twice went close for Dortmund, Frankfurt should have gone further ahead when the ball fell to Aymen Barkok but he fired wildly over the bar from close range.
Dortmund, who have scored 19 of their 22 league goals this season in the second period, brought on 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko at halftime and levelled within 11 minutes of the restart.
Reyna collected Sancho’s pass, skipped past Hinteregger’s challenge and fired an unstoppable shot between Kevin Trapp and his near post.
Moukoko, making his third Bundesliga appearance, saw another effort saved by Trapp although both teams ran out of steam towards the end.
“We have seen two very different halves,” Eintracht coach Adi Huetter said. “The first half was our best half of the season and we should have been more than 1-0 ahead.
“After the break, we were always under pressure although Dortmund did not have as many clear opportunities either. I think that 1:1 is ultimately okay.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond)
The visitors should have gone in front inside four minutes as Timo Werner inexplicably blasted over from close range with the goal gaping.
Hudson-Odoi’s low cross just needed to be steered into the net, but the German forward fired well over the bar from six yards out.
They did grab the lead midway through the first half though when Mason Mount’s pinpoint 50-yard pass behind the Rennes defence allowed Hudson-Odoi to sprint clear, before he showed excellent control and provided a cool finish past Alfred Gomis.
Gomis saved brilliantly from Mount, but it was Mendy who was the busier of the two goalkeepers. He was finally beaten on 85 minutes as Guirassy was left unmarked at a corner and powered his header into the net.
It looked to have sealed a point for the home side, but when Rennes gave up possession just outside their box, Hakim Ziyech set up Werner, whose shot was saved by Gomis, only for Giroud to head in the rebound.
Meanwhile, a squabble over seating arrangements on the team bus cost Club Brugge forward Emmanuel Dennis a place in the squad for Tuesday’s clash at Borussia Dortmund, Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported.
The 23-year-old Nigerian stormed off the bus after being told he was not allowed to sit in his preferred seat due to social distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said, and he did not make the trip to Germany.
Brugge manager Philippe Clement said in his pre-match news conference on Monday that Dennis was fit but unavailable for selection due to disciplinary reasons.
“He didn’t follow the club’s rules, that’s all I want to say about that … I prefer to concentrate on the players who are available to me,” Clement added.
Dennis, who joined Brugge in 2017, scored twice in their 2-2 Champions League draw at Real Madrid last season.
He also netted in the Belgian club’s victory over Zenit St Petersburg in their opening group match in Europe’s elite club competition this season.
Brugge are third in Group F with four points from three games, behind leaders Dortmund and Italy’s Lazio.
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He is expected to feature in the Champions League against Bruges on Wednesday, before facing Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Bellingham believes all this justifies his decision to turn his back on offers from England, including Manchester United, and move to Germany.
“The only thing I was bothered about in making this decision was playing football,” he said. “It’s as clear as day if you come here and do the right things, you will get your opportunity.
“There are plenty of young players out there who, if given the chance, would shine at first-team level but they don’t quite get the chance for whatever reason.
“I’m almost an example, as well as many others in our first team, for just giving people a chance. Throw them in the deep end and see what they can do.
“There are a lot more in the Championship who can handle it. These players are often better than you would think.”
The Sancho factor
Bellingham is not the first 17-year-old Englishman to join Dortmund in recent times. Jadon Sancho was signed from Manchester City in 2017 and has gone on to become a full England international.
“Jadon is a big example for someone English and my age.
“We’re all trying to play but, specifically, we’re trying to make that next step into Europe’s elite. Jadon has done that perfectly.
“There’s no denying that, and looking at his journey was a massive factor for me.
“I didn’t really speak to him before I came out, I sort of did it through other people. I would mention something and they would say: ‘Jadon thought the same about this or that.’
“Hopefully I can mirror what he has done.”
The big decision
Bellingham received a tour of the Manchester United training ground from legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but opted to join one of the most talented crops of young players in Europe. Another one-time United target Erling Braut Haaland, 20, and teenagers Gio Reyna and Reinier Jesus Carvalho are team-mates.
“Manchester United have a great squad – and my decision had nothing to do with Man United. Dortmund was the best place for me. After that, you ignore everything else.
“It’s been easy to build a connection because I can relate to my team-mates a little bit more. A lot of them are in a similar boat, especially Jesus and Gio, who are a similar age and points in our career.”
Bellingham’s father, Mark, scored more than 700 goals as a semi-professional and played well into his 40s. Jude’s 15-year-old brother Jobe is a Birmingham academy player and has played for England Under-15s.
“Both my parents are working class and filled me with the things you need to get along; not giving up, working hard, putting in the graft to go out and get something.
“I’ve seen the way they interact with people and how they treat them. When you have people like that, you don’t have to be told how to behave.
“I used to watch my dad play all the time. You can see it in the way I play… that non-league style of toughness and being gritty when you need to be is reflected in my game.
“I’m really proud of Jobe and can’t wait to see how he starts to develop over the next year or two. We’ve always pushed each other and the only times we fought, it was always about football and who was winning.”
Bellingham is living in a city-centre apartment. There are huge limitations on what he can do because of the coronavirus pandemic, but he has a new language to learn and studies to complete. He is not cooking for himself yet, though.
“There is not a chance of that. I’m getting food from the club and my mum’s helping me out with all that kind of stuff.
“I was having two or three German lessons a week before the international break, and becoming fluent is definitely something I want to do. The schedule has been really busy so I have not really got back on it but I am understanding more day by day, even though I find it tough to speak.
“Virtually everyone speaks English but the coaches prefer to do everything in German. I have found if I pick up three words in a sentence, that is enough to piece together what they are speaking about.
“I still have a few things I need to do for my sports B-Tech. Mum has reminded me plenty of times you are never beyond education, so I need to get that boxed off and get my tutor off my case.”
Giant leap to Bundesliga
Bellingham shows remarkable maturity for someone who only made his senior debut, aged 16 years and 38 days, in August 2019. He remains unfazed by making the leap from junior football to the Champions League in the space of 18 months.
“I’ve never believed in my own hype and never wanted to get involved in it.
“My manager will send me stuff and I’ll check it but I’m never too interested in what people say because, honestly, people’s opinions change like the weather. One minute you’re the best, the next you’re not ready.
“Maybe I come across as mature but when you’re in the environment I’ve been in for the last year, you have to grow up quickly and leave childish habits behind.
“What hit me straight away was that the talk of the Bundesliga being a lesser league is completely false. The teams are of a very high standard. Each team has a few players who are of great quality and I have to be at a certain level to my team-mates otherwise I am letting them and myself down.
“It has been a jump but it is one I think I was ready for, although, to be fair, my parents would say I’m still immature, and I’m just putting it on for you lot.”
The Bundesliga restarted 10 days ago after a break of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with games played without supporters to reduce the risk of infection.
It all started well for hosts Dortmund with teenage sensation Erling Haaland almost scoring in the opening seconds as Bayern’s Jerome Boateng had to clear the ball off the line.
The visitors found their footing and had their own effort cleared off the line when Lukasz Piszczek denied Serge Gnabry from five metres.
In a fluid and entertaining first half Norway international Haaland should have done better when he was sent through in the 33rd minute with Alphonso Davies stealing the ball away.
It was Kimmich’s delightful effort that settled the game when he superbly chipped the ball from the edge of the box over the keeper.
Dortmund lost Haaland, who earlier had another effort deflected wide by Boateng’s elbow, to injury with 18 minutes left and Mo Dahoud tried his luck from outside the box but visiting keeper Manuel Neuer, on his 400th league appearance, managed to preserve his clean sheet.
Teammate Robert Lewandowski hit the post in the 83rd for Bayern.
“I think that now it is only up to Bayern to decide the title,” said Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.
“We are seven points behind and can do nothing more than win our games. But we have to hope they slip up three times. We know how good they are.”
Leipzig could go ahead of Dortmund on goal difference when they host Hertha Berlin as one of five games on Wednesday.
They would seem to be the only other outside title challenger left as Bayer Leverkusen crashed to fifth on Tuesday in a tired performance which saw them hammered 4-1 at home by European hopefuls Wolfsburg.
Borussia Moenchengladbach went fourth on goal difference with a 0-0 draw at second bottom Werder Bremen but are 11 points off the pace.
Eintracht Frankfurt ended a run of five consecutive Bundesliga losses with a 3-3 draw at home to Freiburg.
They are 14th but do hold a game in hand away to Bremen in early in June.
Man Utd and Chelsea have been offered some hope in the transfer race for Jadon Sancho, after a Borussia Dortmund chief admitted the expectation of high transfer fees is likely to diminish over the course of the summer.
Dortmund were keen to stress early on in during lockdown that coronavirus would not alter their asking price for star winger Sancho.
A fee of around £100-120million has been touted for the 20-year-old, though the current economic crisis may have forced Dortmund to take stock and reassess the situation.
Asked about the club’s prospective transfer dealings, Dortmund’s head of sales, marketing and business development, Carsten Cramer said on an online forum: “Usually at this time of year the squad for next season is already done. Maybe you sell some players but the plans are done.
“Everyone has to be as flexible as possible. I’m very sure the business on loan will become of higher relevance than periods before and for sure it will take a longer time to plan your squad.
“I’m very, very sure that not on July 1 or even August 1 your team is done. Flexibility is very important, patience will be important.
“I’m very sure the expectations of high fees will go down as well.”
Cramer’s comments suggest Dortmund could be willing to accept a lower than asking price bid for Sancho, with potentially the option for interested clubs to loan the star with an obligation to buy him at a later date.
Sancho still has two years left to run on his current deal at Dortmund, and unless he signs an extension, this would be the ideal window to cash in on his services.
And former Man Utd midfielder Owen Hargreaves believes Sancho is tailor-made to be a hit at Old Trafford.
Hargreaves said: “Things go in cycles. Man United will be back and the recruitment of a player like Jadon would help.
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“I know Sancho is going to cost a lot of money, but you have a player who, potentially for the next decade, is going to be a unique player to watch.
“Can he become a Ballon d’Or winner? Yes, because potentially he is off the charts.
“The impact he has had already has been quite astonishing.”
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