Other Happenings to Care About | April 2-6, 2014

Paul Thomas

Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund both win before the UEFA Champions League second leg; Kaiserslautern hold off Bochum with 10 men

UEFA Champions League UEFA Champions League: Manchester United FC Manchester United

Newcastle United (0-4) Manchester United

0-1 Juan Mata (39')
0-2 Juan Mata (50')
0-3 Javier Hernandez (65')
0-4 Adnan Januzaj (90')

It was a much more positive result before the Champions League second leg than Bayern Munich's result to say the least. David Moyes found the perfect balance of rest and rigor, with cap-tied Juan Mata providing the initial spark. Javier Hernandez passed his try-out as Wayne Rooney's replacement, while Adnan Januzaj capped the match off. The options to Moyes is a bit more abundant than the first leg defensively, possibly stabalizing his set up for a more potent attack.

Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): Lindegaard – Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Evra (Büttner 64') – Fletcher, Fellaini (Nani 69') – Young (Januzaj 18'), Mata, Kagawa – Hernández

Logo DFL © Foto: Bongarts/GettyImages Bundesliga: BV Borussia 09 Dortmund Borussia Dortmund

Real Madrid (3-0) Borussia Dortmund

1-0 Gareth Bale (3')
2-0 Isco (27')
3-0 Christiano Ronaldo (57')

Dortmund injuries and suspensions robbed the pizazz from the rematch of the 2013 Champions League semifinal. Only four players in the Dortmund side participated in last year's shocking result. Real Madrid struck most menacingly from the flanks, taking advantage of the inexperienced Erik Durm playing left back. Dortmund put on good attacking performance, but with their best finisher not in the side due to yellow card accumulation, there was no bite in the final third.

Borussia Dortmund XI (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller – Piszczek (Schieber 67'), Hummels, Papastathopoulos, Durm – Kehl (Jojić 74'), Şahin – Großkreutz, Mkhitaryan (Hofmann 64'), Reus – Aubameyang

Borussia Dortmund (2-1) VfL Wolfsburg

0-1 Ivica Olic (34')
1-1 Robert Lewandowski (51')
2-1 Marco Reus (77')

Lewandowski and Reus salvage an otherwise underwhelming defensive performance from Dortmund. Wolfsburg had numerous chances, Dortmund surrendering space to a very active Olic. The vaunted attack provided enough pressure on Wolfsburg to eventually break them in the second half, but both goals came in large part from the mistakes of reserve goalkeeper Max Grün. Until players get healthy for Jürgen Klopp, he will have to find tactical ways to hide the deficiencies in the back.

Borussia Dortmund XI (4-2-3-1): Langerak – Piszczek, Papastathopoulos, Hummels, Großkreutz – Kehl, Şahin – Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus – Lewandowski

Germany DFB-Pokal: 1. FC Kaiserslautern 1. FC Kaiserslautern

1. FC Kaiserslautern (1-1) VfL Bochum

0-1 Richard Sukuta-Pasu (42')
1-1 Mohammadou Idrissou (45')

If the match showed anything, it was how organized Kosta Runjiac kept his side. He gambled a bit tactically when Florian Dick got his second yellow card, electing to keep three in the back, but it allowed Kaiserslautern to have an attack with an absent man. The Rote Teufel are still a side that does not keep the ball particularly well and does not have a strong build-up going forward, but they can provide pressure on opponents nonetheless. Getting the ball in the back of the net is a persisting problem, for they have scored multiple goals only twice in the Rückrunde.

Kaiserslautern XI (4-4-2): Sippel – Dick, Orban, Torrejón, Löwe – Matmour, Karl, Jenssen (Ede 74'), Fortounis (Lakić 81') – Zoller, Idrissou

Players of Interest

With midweek off, Robert Lewandowski scored the key equalizer off of a glancing header that lifted Dortmund back into the match. The rest of his day was rather average, although he did touch the ball the most of any attacker... No news on either Sebastian Rode (knee) or Jan Kirchhoff (ankle), although it appears more and more likely that Kirchhoff is done for the rest of this season...

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