The triangle is broken – Borussia Dortmund and the Odyssey to Azerbaijan

After last weekend’s 2:0 victory in Mainz Borussia Dortmund now has to travel to the edge of Europe. It is interesting that such countries like Azerbaijan belong to Europe. But it could be worse. With Astana for example the Champions League has a debutant from Kazakhstan which really feels like middle Asia. Even after some research it is hard to get some facts about FK Qäbälä.

How to write the name?
One interesting fact is the name. You read many alternatives. Qäbälä, Gabala, Quabalaa. Until now I am not really sure what is right, what is the German or English form to write it. Qäbälä is about 200 kilometres away from the capital Baku, which was host of the European Games (an equivalent to the Pan-American Games or the Commonwealth Games) and a famous Song Contest in Europe. The country badly wants to belong to Europe and always looks gen west.

Azerbaijan combines the idea of European progress and Asian exotic. The actual representing club is (once again there is a problem with names) FK Qarabag Agdam. Borussia Dortmund played in 2010 (qualifiers for the Europa League) against Qarabag and won. FK Qäbälä was founded in 1995 and had until now four different names – Göy Göl Xanlar and Gilan Xanlar were the first names when the club was still situated in the town of Xanlar. 2006 the city and name was changed to Gilan Qäbälä IK, 2007 to the form of today – FK Qäbälä. The participation in the Europa League is the biggest success of the young club. They kicked out Panathinaikos Athens in the playoffs and reached a draw at home against PAOK Salonika. The squad consists of so-called “unknown” players, as even experts have barely recognize members of the squad.






Borussia Dortmund again with self esteem

It should be quite sure that Borussia Dortmund will take this opponent very seriously. On the one hand the performance of Dortmund is barely satisfying. On the other hand Qäbälä is not supposed to be a real opponent. They actually only have the chance that they have no chance and nothing to lose. Until now no rumour of the formation were made public. But eventually Qäbälä is a chance for players like Bender, Januzaj, Castro or Lee.
Two positions won’t be discussed. Marco Reus needs to play. After his injury and three bad matches against Hoffenheim, Darmstadt and München, Reus improved against FSV Mainz 05 and scored a goal. He even had the chance to score a second one but he missed the penalty. He, I imagine, will be the key player in the Qäbälä-match.

Another player will be missing. Henrikh Mkhitayran won’t be part of the squad. The Armenian midfielder is not injured or in bad shape. It is a political reason. Armenia and Azerbaijan have an ongoing border conflict for a few square kilometres. Of course it seems strange in our eyes but it is a complicated matter. The official statement of Borussia Dortmund says that there a safety- and visa-reasons for Mkhitaryan to stay at home.

Nevertheless. Borussia Dortmund should be strong enough to win against Qäbälä. Together the squad of Qäbälä is worth 14 Million Euros. It could be an easy victory. Even if the triangle Aubameyang, Reus and Mkhitaryan is broken

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Dennis Liedschulte

Dennis works as a journalist and author of fictional novels in Germany. He is a regular visitor of the German Bundesliga. He worked for several newspapers and online magazines and reports directly from Germany for Follow at @NummerSieben7