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Europa League Review: Mixed Fortunes For Bundesliga Sides

The Bundesliga’s Europa League contestants played out some very difficult ties tonight against strong opposition, with very little to choose between the sides. Borussia Dortmund suffered a poor home loss against Sevilla, while Bayer Leverkusen held on for a point at Atletico Madrid. Leverkusen managed an away win to Odense, which was a lot harder than it first appeared it would be.

Borussia Dortmund 0 – 1 Sevilla

Germany’s in-form side were unable to remain consistent against a very tough Sevilla. Jurgen Klopp will be disappointed that his team were unable to pick up any points at home, and a result like this will severely damage Dortmund’s chances of topping their Europa League group, which could mean much tougher opposition in the first knockout round. The only goal of the game was scored by Italian midfielder Luca Cigarini, who is a new signing at Sevilla. Dortmund would eventually be reduced to ten-men when Marcel Schmelzer received his second yellow card of the math after a tackle on Mouhamadou Dabo. Klopp will encourage his side to bounce back this weekend against Bayern Munich, in what will no doubt be a much tougher task. Klopp’s side likely had one eye on the weekend during this match, and three points in the Bundesliga against Bayern Munich will surely have been top priority.

Atletico Madrid 1 – 1 Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen will definitely be the happier of the two sides here after leaving Spain with a positive result. Leverkusen took the lead through in-form striker Eren Derdiyok, who fired home from close range. Leverkusen held their lead into the break, but Atletico Madrid equalized from the penalty spot through Simao, after Sami Hyypia brought Fran Merida down in the area. Leverkusen will be happy with their point, though, because an away game in Spain is never an easy fixture. Leverkusen will likely win their group if they can get another positive result against their Spanish opponents in Germany, which means a route to the knockout rounds could be much easier than first anticipated.

Odense BK 1 – 2 VfB Stuttgart

Little-known Odense gave their Bundesliga opponents quite a run for their money at home in Denmark. Stuttgart were held scoreless until 15 minutes from time by their hard-working opponents, but were opened up by a cross from Christian Gentner which Zdravko Kuzmanovic headed home from about 12 yards out. Odense never looked like laying down and dying after the goal, and instantly responded through Andreas Johansson who poked Sven Ulreich after a cross from Chris Sorensen. Stuttgart, though, found a fortunate winner through Martin Harnik who smashed his side to the win from about 20 yards out. A nervy match for Stuttgart, but three points is three points.

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  1. David H

    October 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    I didn’t look until now — BVB is not in an easy group, with Sevilla & PSG. My first thought was that they should’ve blown off the Sevilla match & focused on Bayern, but with 2 strong-ish opponents in their group, I guess they can’t really afford to throw away games. Not if they plan to progress to the knockout stages.

    • Dylan Thomas

      October 1, 2010 at 11:10 pm

      I don’t think PSG is as strong as they were a few years back, BVB should be able to deal with them pretty easily. Let’s just hope they thump Bayern Munich on the weekend and turn the league upside down.

  2. David H

    October 1, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Did BVB not use their best players? Not being a particular fan of the team, I can’t say I know their best 11. Anyway, Sevilla haven’t started all that well in La Liga (8 points from 5,) after they were dumped out of the Champions League. So I’m wondering if this was a case of Weakened Side v. Highly Motivated Failures.

    I’m still not sure it’s worth it, for all but the smallest teams, to go all out for the Europa League. The prize money is peanuts compared to the Champions League. Small teams can certainly use it, but I’d think in the Big 5 you’d get relatively more money for finishing a few places higher up the table. Not a few Serie A sides have had that attitude in the last few years, but then La Liga teams seem to relish the competition.

    • Dylan Thomas

      October 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm

      You’re right about the Europa League being worth very little financially, and that it is more profitable to finish higher up in the league rather than advance in the Europa League. Despite that, Borussia Dortmund did field their strongest possible 11 and came away with, obviously, very little. It’s a big result for Sevilla who will look to turn their season around on it. For Dortmund, it’s either an omen of what’s to come, or a reminder that it’s not all as easy as it has been lately. If they lose to Bayern Munich, it could well knock them off their recent form and put a dent in morale.

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