Teenager Ansgar Knauff keeps Borussia Dortmund’s vague hopes for the Champions League alive with his winning goal in a 3-2 win over VfB Stuttgart. But against Manchester City an improvement has to be made.
Teenager Ansgar Knauff accepted the numerous congratulations from his relieved colleagues calmly like a veteran. Only the deep embrace of his happy trainer Edin Terzic conjured up a shy smile on the youngster’s face.
The 19-year-old had every reason to be happy: With his premier goal in the Bundesliga right from the first shot on goal, Knauff Borussia Dortmund had not only retained the small remaining chance of the Champions League ranks. His winning goal to 3: 2 (0: 1) at VfB Stuttgart also gave BVB confidence for the difficult quarter-final second leg in the premier class against Manchester City.
“It’s just a great feeling,” said Knauff, looking back with a blissful look at “an unbelievable week”. First the starting eleven against City in the first leg (1: 2), then the game-deciding joker goal in a wild roller coaster ride on the Stuttgart Wasen (80th). And on Wednesday (9 p.m. in LIVETICKER) against Manchester? “I just hope it goes on like this,” said Knauff and grinned mischievously.
A whole club builds on that with him. In order to make the little football miracle possible against the top English club, “we have to top Manchester’s performance,” predicted BVB coach Terzic. The fact that he was able to give the all-clear to captain Marco Reus, who hobbled off after being substituted (67th), and defense chief Mats Hummels (circulatory problems) for Wednesday, supported Dortmund’s confidence despite the persistent defensive weaknesses.
Borussia Dortmund: It takes a little miracle against Manchester City
Especially since, thanks to Knauf, the door to the renewed Champions League qualification remained ajar. The fourth Eintracht Frankfurt is still seven points behind, while third Wolfsburg is eight points away. “We’ll throw everything in and do everything we can to achieve our goals,” promised Terzic.
Knauff demonstrated it. After the VfB lead through the 14th goal of the season by Sturm-Hüne Sasa Kalajdzic (17th), BVB was after an extremely inefficient first half by Jude Bellingham (47th), who also scored for the first time in the league, and Reus (52. ) came back. But Daniel Didavi equalized again (78th), before Knauff gave the wild ride another turn.
“I came in and really wanted to win the game. I’m just happy that it worked out,” said Knauff, who was the fifth BVB teenager to meet this season. “Borussia Dortmund is known for the fact that 19-year-olds can score the winning goals,” said Terzic and laughed.
Jürgen Klopp also has an important part in this success story. The former BVB coach invited Knauff, who was then Göttingen, to the U13 trial training after being honored as the best player at the Dortmund youth tournament “Family Cup” in 2014. Knauff then came to Borussia in 2016 via Hanover.