Socceroos Mitchell Langerak and James Holland were in UEFA Champions League action this morning, with the pair both recording promising results.
Socceroos Mitchell Langerak and James Holland were in UEFA Champions League action this morning, with the pair recording promising results in their respective fixtures.
Aussie goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak has made a successful UEFA Champions League starting debut for Borussia Dortmund in this morning-s matchday two action, keeping a cleansheet in his side-s 3-0 win against Marseille. Last year-s finalists brought their impressive domestic form to the European stage, with a clinical display in front of their home fans to earn their first points in Group F.
The German side controlled the opening exchanges and went ahead in the 19th minute, after frontman Robert Lewandowski capped an exquisite counter-attack with a simple finish. Langerak was called upon shortly after, getting down well to turn a Mathieu Valbuena free-kick around the upright.
Midfielder Marco Rues scored from a set piece early in the second half to double Dortmund-s advantage and Lewandowski converted from the spot late on to give his side a comprehensive win. Apart from a Dimitri Payet shot, which Langerak comfortably held, the former Melbourne Victory custodian was largely untroubled and put in an assured display between the posts.
Langerak was deputising for his suspended captain Roman Weidenfeller, who was sent off just before half time in the German league leaders loss to Napoli a fortnight ago. Despite chipping his two front teeth on the post in his attempt to save a free kick, Langerak said he was looking forward to the cauldron of Champions League football in the lead up to the match.
"It hurt, but the defeat was worse," said Langerak. "It wasn't an easy match to come on in; it didn't go as well as we wanted.
"It's never ideal to lose your first game, but we've got a chance to make things right."
Certainly Dortmund-s manager Jurgen Klopp had no hesitation Langerak was up to the task.
"We are in the comfortable situation that when Roman Weidenfeller drops out, then there is no need for sleepless nights with Mitch around," said Klopp.
The statistics support his confidence in the 25 year-old, as in the 14 matches Langerak has now been in goals, Dortmund have been victorious on 13 occasions.
It-s the kind of form that has finally prompted Socceroos Coach Holger Osieck to give Langerak a start for the national team. Osieck promising Langerak would make his debut in at least one of Australia-s upcoming internationals against France and Canada.
"Mitchell Langerak deserves to play in at least one of those games - he's earned it," said Osieck.
Elsewhere in European Champions League action, midfielder James Holland played a full match in Austria Wien-s 0-0 draw with Zenit St. Petersburg. Holland-s side earning a valuable point away to the high flying Russians who currently lead their domestic lead.
It was the first time an Austrian side has claimed points on the road in the competition but they will need to take their game to another level if they-re to progress from Group G which also features Porto and Athletico Madrid. Holland put in a composed performance in the centre of the park for Wien, to suggest he is another player who should expect game time in the Socceroos friendlies in under a fortnight-s time.
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