Saturday, 22nd, April 2017 5:30 PM
The sea of yellow from the home fans was amazing as always, I mused to myself, I really did manage the best fans in the league. The 'Yellow Wall' was already chanting my name as I walked out onto the turf, to look over the pre-match warm ups with Steve Walsh and the physios.
I clasped hands with Steve as he approached me, a smile beaming ear from ear.
"The lads look hungry for it today Josh, I wouldn't be too worried about complacency setting in, I think we will be partying come tonight" he chuckled. I couldn't help but admire how Steve was so calm under any situation, in the DFB-Pokal final last season he was as breezy as ever. I knew the league was our in reality and it should be today, but I always felt nervous before important games.
As kick-off quickly approached I signalled for my players to come back inside, the changing rooms a mess of boots and sports bags, but in the corner I caught the sight of the traditional 'Champions Banners' and shook my head laughing to myself.
"Ok lads listen up" I bellowed, "We all know what is at stake today, the league is more or less ours, but today we have the chance to win it in front of our home fans and give them a four week party! What more could they wise for! Keep your heads and play as you always do lads, we are here for a reason, don't think about it too much now!"
With that Julian Weigl stood up and rallied the lads, he was shaping up to be a future captain I thought, he had the ability and it appeared the leadership.
The roar of the crowd was deafening when the referee got the game underway but it was nothing compared to the noise that reached my ears just 16 minutes later.
Marco Reus picked the ball up in the Paderborn final third and the crowd as they always do when this special talent touches the ball, held their breaths. I could see Mario Fernandes making a run to his right and prayed Reus spotted it, without even hesitating Marco played in the fullback and first time he crossed it towards my personal favourite player Mkhitaryan. The ball was in the air an age and never seemed to come down, but it suddenly the ball was in the back of the net and I could smell the burning flames of a flare being set off behind me in the crowd. We had a lead.
I wasn't even watching when I suddenly realised that we had scored yet again, as I was discussing Mario Fernandes's potential injury with the fitness coaches in the dugout, but as I turned all I saw was Aubameyang leaping high in the air and heading it simply into the net.
Steve grabbed me and embraced me tightly.
"We have another title Joshy boy!" he exclaimed and I couldn't help but get carried away with only 23 minutes gone, it would take three Paderborn goals to ruin the party and even when the visitors didn't claw one back, the fans merely carried on partying.
But for some reason I was still feeling tense, maybe it was yet to sink in that I was about to win another league title as a manager? Despite all the doubt early on? I watched in glee as Mario pounced on a sloppy pass and broke forwards, the man was deceptively quick I thought to myself, his passing however was evidently superb, there was no hiding it. For a fullback he has one of the best distribution of the ball I have seem.
The Brazilian casually picked out Aubameyang and I found myself running down the touchline before he had even shot, but as the ball went flying past the keeper to make it 3-1, I was already down the touchline to jump onto the celebrating players.
It had finally sunk in. I have won another league title.
The game fizzled out and remained 3-1 and when the full-time whistle blew, I shook hands with my opposite number, before hugging every single one of my staff and substitutes.
There was no need for formalities in the changing room after, the party started instantly, the vodka, champagne, Jäger and beers were out in full flow. Crates of the drinks spewed across the floor, with every player and member of staff knowing we were winning the title today, they had time to bring drinks in with them and boy did they deliver.
I finally crawled into bed, more hammered than I ever had been before. I had already thrown up multiple times in every place I could find between the nightclub and my house, much to the delight of my players.
I rolled over moaning as my head spun and checked my clock, it read 6am.
"Great" I muttered, "I have a press conference in three hours" and with that, I shut my eyes and drifted off to sleep.