One look at the faces was enough to recognize the luck of the match winner.
Ansgar Knauff was still walking through the Stuttgart arena, grinning, while superstars like Erling Haaland or Marco Reus had long since disappeared into the Borussia Dortmund dressing room. The 19-year-old gave the first television interviews after his third appearance in the Bundesliga, but he didn’t lose his smile.
“It’s been an incredible week for me,” said Knauff on “Sky” after the hard-won 3-2 at VfB. A few days ago Knauff started the Champions League quarter-finals at Manchester City for the first time, and now he has saved BVB the immensely important victory with his goal in the 80th minute. The Dortmunders thus keep their mini-chance of re-qualifying for the premier class. Thanks to a teenager – again.
“Borussia Dortmund is known for the fact that 19-year-olds can score the winning goals,” said coach Edin Terzic in the “Current Sports Studio” of “ZDF”. This time he had brought Knauff in the 67th minute for the ailing captain Reus. Eleven minutes later, three Stuttgarters in a confined space were just amazed: Knauff took a pass from Haaland cleanly, dribbled, pulled in – and finally slid the ball into the far corner.
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“Halloooo superstar”, wrote his highly talented team-mate Jude Bellingham under a cheering photo of Knauff on Instagram. With six game days to go, the Westphalia are separated by seven points from Eintracht Frankfurt and fourth place. In addition, thanks to Knauff, hope is growing for a sensation in the quarter-final second leg against City, coached by Pep Guardiola, this Wednesday (9:00 p.m.).
BVB has to catch up against the star ensemble 1: 2. The speed and carefree Knauff could help. According to Terzic, Mats Hummels (circulatory problems), who were replaced at halftime in Stuttgart, and Reus should also be there.
The coach told Knauff that he should enjoy the congratulations for now. It had once again looked like an unhappy evening for the 38-year-old and his team. The Dortmund team tried hard from the start, but their hard work did not protect them from individual mistakes. Before the 0: 1 by Sasa Kalajdzic (17th) Mahmoud Dahoud failed in the build-up of the game, which VfB used for a quick counterattack, which the Austrian completed with a head.
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After the break, the game picked up speed. First BVB struck back with Bellingham (47th), who had been in good shape for weeks, shortly afterwards Reus (52nd) turned the game around with his first Bundesliga goal after 1130 minutes of play. But that was far from it, because the strong climber now increased the pressure and was able to deserve equalize with the substitute Daniel Didavi (78th). But then came Knauff. And with the Göttingen native, hope comes back at BVB after turbulent weeks.
“The table is no longer completely in our hands. But we can influence it by collecting three points – every weekend,” said Terzic. In fact, only one series of successes will be able to help Borussia in the final sprint. Or winning the Champions League, which would also secure the start permit for the next season in the premier class. BVB should have registered that Manchester City is not unbeatable. The leaders lost 1: 2 in the Premier League to Leeds United – a newly promoted team who had been outnumbered for one half.
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