You always get back up again

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2021-05-18 4:05 by Boris Rupert

There were hugs all round after the final whistle at Mainz's OPEL-Arena as players, coaches, team members and staff danced across the pitch. Borussia Dortmund had pulled off an almost unique comeback to book their spot in the UEFA Champions League. It was the end of a wonderful week in which BVB had lifted silverware – the DFB-Pokal – three days earlier.

Only 67 hours after that intense cup final had ended, Borussia Dortmund won their 50th competitive match of the shortest season in history (19 September to 22 May) – and their 11th in the space of six weeks – to secure their involvement in Europe's elite club competition for the 16th time in the club's history and the sixth season in succession.

Hardly anyone believed it was possible on the evening of 3 April. But the coach and team swore after their 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt that they would achieve this goal together – and won six games on the bounce to catch up with the men from Hesse (seven points ahead) and even VfL Wolfsburg (11 points ahead), whom they overtook and ousted from third place on Sunday. It is their highest placement since Matchday 8.

"The way we've caught up has been sensational," declared captain Marco Reus, who spoke of a "strong, very strong mentality". The ecstatic coach Edin Terzic added: "It's been a fantastic run-in from us. We've made the seemingly impossible possible in this time."

In line with the club motto – "You always get back up again" – the team has overcome many adversities in the 2020/21 corona season. Involvement in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, some wonderful performances in the competition against Sevilla and Manchester City, a third or fourth-place finish in the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal triumph have ultimately made it a good season all in all. However, the home record in the league illustrates how much the fans have been missed. There were only two wins in the first seven home league matches with no spectators whatsoever. But Terzic has made an impact on the team in that regard too. They have now left Signal Iduna Park as winners in four consecutive matches (league and cup). They will be targeting a fifth in a row on Saturday when they round off the season against Leverkusen.

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