The Perfect Ten Part 3: Borussia Dortmund vs Legia Warsaw (November 22, 2016)

Borussia Dortmund rewrote history when they defeated Polish club Legia Warsaw 8-4 in the Group Stage of the Champions League, in what marked the highest scoring European Game Ever. The 12 goals scored at the Westfalonstadion surpassed Monaco’s 8-3 win over Deportivo La Coruna in 2003.

The way the first half panned out showed that the game was on course to create history, as seven goals were scored in 22 first-half minutes. Aleksander Prijovic opened the scoring for the Polish club after Vadis Odjidja teed him up following some sluggish defending by the hosts. Kagawa equalised seven minutes later as he headed home Dembele’s cross after ghosting past the back line. Legia had just restarted after the goal when Kagawa scored his second after combining with Dembele yet again to make the score 2-1. Legia’s stand in goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak then fumbled Reus’ free kick into Nuri Sahin’s head who made the score 3-1. The visitors got one back as Prijovic doubled his tally with a neat finish, but could only find the woodwork moments later which proved costly as Dembele scored with a powerful finish from the resulting counter-attack. It was then Reus’ turn to find the net as he marked his return from injury with an emphatic finish from Kagawa’s cross to make it 5-2.

The second half was again entertaining, as Reus completed his brace with a tap in off Dembele’s pass. Kucharszyk then made it 6-3 as he raced behind the back line and lobbed over Weidenfeller. Passlack then added Dortmund’s seventh as he nodded home the rebound from Schurrle’s shot, only for Legia’s Nikolic to net from the restart. However, there was still some time for more action as Reus forced an own goal from Jakub Rzezniczak in the final minute of stoppage time to make it 8-4, hence breaking the record for the most goals scored in a UCL match.

Apart from the goal threat, the match became famous for a thoroughly entertaining, roller coaster ride, and more goals could’ve been scored by both sides had Aubameyang and Prijovic not struck the post. Also, Dortmund scored eight goals out of only ten shots on target, while more than half of their total shots on the night were converted. The ridiculous stats don’t end here and in a game with so many goals, both keepers made a total of only FIVE saves in 90 minutes, with Legia’s Cierzniak making his first save at 6-3!

The game wasn’t just a goal threat, it was fairly unpredictable in the first half hour, as some nail-biting action was witnessed. However, a superb performance from Reus, who made an emphatic comeback from injury, and Dembele and Kagawa, in particular, ran the show for the hosts. The match would stay forever in the minds of both sets of fans, although contrastingly, and would go down in the history as one of the finest and most entertaining UCL games ever. In a season when they somewhat underachieved, this was one of the highlights and would go down as Tuchel’s best game in the European competition for the German Cup winners.