Chelsea 2-0 BVB: Dortmund out of Champions League after disappointing display
Borussia Dortmund have crashed out of the UEFA Champions League after a 2-0 loss at Chelsea.
Goals on either side of half-time from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz were enough for the Blues to turn their first leg deficit around and win 2-1 on aggregate.
The first leg
Just less than three weeks ago, the sides met at Signal Iduna Park in the first leg of this tie.
Despite Chelsea seeing the better of the chances and Gregor Kobel’s many saves, a second half Karim Adeyemi strike on the counter-attack saw BVB take an advantage into the second leg.
With the deficit so tight, it was still virtually all to play for ahead of the second leg.
Being at their Stamford Bridge home in west London for the reverse fixture, Chelsea would have their home crowd behind them for the decisive 90 minutes.
Though both sides are in contrasting league form, Champions League ties are often famed for their unpredictability, particularly in such tense second leg affairs.
The Black and Yellows came into this one on the back of a huge win over RB Leipzig, while the Blues had earned their first win in seven games on the weekend over Leeds.
Few knew what to expect here. A place in the last eight of world football’s most prestigious club competition was on the line.
1. Kepa Arrizabalaga
24. Reece James
33. Wesley Fofana
26. Kalidou Koulibaly
32. Marc Cucurella
21. Ben Chilwell
5. Enzo Fernandez
8. Mateo Kovacic (C)
17. Raheem Sterling
29. Kai Havertz
11. Joao Felix
33. Alexander Meyer
17. Marius Wolf
25. Niklas Süle
4. Nico Schlotterbeck
13. Raphael Guerreiro
19. Julian Brandt
6. Salih Özcan
23. Emre Can
22. Jude Bellingham
11. Marco Reus (C)
9. Sébastien Haller
From the first whistle it was clear that Chelsea were up for the occasion.
Needing two goals on the night to overcome the deficit from the first leg, the Blues signalled intent from the off.
Joao Felix threatened early on, drawing a good save out of Alexander Meyer before Kalidou Koulibaly headed the following corner wide of the post.
Just minutes later Kai Havertz was played in behind for a big chance, but the German flashed his shot wide of the near post.
With Graham Potter’s side having made the better start, Dortmund responded and had a short spell of pressure of their own.
Marco Reus came very close with a free-kick which was very well saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Soon after, Marius Wolf played the ball in behind for Giovanni Reyna, who had come off the bench to replace the injured Julian Brandt, and the American put a dangerous delivery into the box but no teammate was there to react.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 7, 2023
But the hosts were quick to ensure that any threat of a goal would be at the other end of the pitch.
Havertz came close again when a Wolf clearance fell at his feet just inside the box, but the former Bayer Leverkusen man struck the post.
Minutes later, he thought he’d finally got his goal, when he smashed the ball home off the bar after Raheem Sterling failed with his initial attempt, but Sterling had gone too early.
Chelsea looked the far likelier side to break the deadlock and they almost did moments later, when a free-kick was whipped into the danger zone.
Meyer came for it but got nowhere near it, leaving Koulibaly a gilt-edged chance but the ball cannoned off his leg, allowing Felix the chance instead, but his shot was denied by the goalkeeper.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) March 7, 2023
A few minutes before half-time, after missing a chance of his own, Ben Chilwell sent another ball into the box.
Raheem Sterling in a hectic box initially mis-kicked the ball but a touch from Reus set up the former Manchester City man for another opportunity, which he took, lashing it into the roof of the net.
Edin Terzic’s side did seek an immediate response in first half stoppage time, as Jude Bellingham fed through Raphael Guerreiro, but the Portuguese was tackled before he could release his shot.
To start the second half the Premier League side went in search of the all-important second goal to decide the tie.
Minutes in they had the perfect chance, after Wolf blocked a cross with his arm, leading to a penalty.
It was Havertz who would step up and take responsibility, but his first attempt struck the post, despite sending Meyer the wrong way.
However, the referee ruled that encroachment had occurred when the Dortmund players scrambled to clear the ball away, hence a retake was ordered.
Havertz went for a second bite at the cherry, and went the same way, but this time, there was a different outcome, as his effort nestled into the bottom corner, putting the hosts ahead.
Chelsea retook their penalty due to encroachment after Havertz' shot hit the post.
Havertz scored on the second attempt. pic.twitter.com/0e1Q66U4R4
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 7, 2023
From that point on, it didn’t seem as though the Bundesliga side would find an equaliser; Chelsea were in control and stopped everything that came their way, despite BVB having most of the chances in the half.
Quite early in the second 45, Bellingham saw a golden chance, after a Guerreiro cross fell at his feet but his close range attempt was poked just past the post.
Kepa in goal for the Blues later kept out relatively straightforward efforts from Emre Can and Wolf, before Niklas Süle flashed a long-range shot wide of the post.
Bellingham later looped a header over the bar with minutes to play and Wolf had a go from the final corner but they were mere desperate attempts. It seemed destined that Chelsea would make it through.
What went wrong
Borussia Dortmund are out of the Champions League, leaving the club with two competitions now left to play for.
Overall, the performance wasn’t terrible; particularly in the second half, they had the majority of the chances.
But they were simply second best. The Black and Yellows didn’t have their shooting boots on and ultimately lacked a real cutting edge; there was no spell where they were truly hurting their opponents.
Chelsea seemed to have more energy in the midfield and build their attacks quicker. They won the midfield battle and showed real threat on the offence, a threat the Dortmund defence couldn’t deal with.
Now Edin Terzic and his side can concentrate on their domestic competitions, in the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal.
With the form they’re in, they are arguably one of the top eight sides in Europe. This is just the beginning with this team and there’s solid foundations that can be built upon.
Ultimately, the gap between the Premier League and Europe’s other leagues is very big. Though they’re eighth in the league, Chelsea had enough quality to get through the tie.
Granted, BVB were without a key player or two, namely Gregor Kobel and Karim Adeyemi, but there’s plenty of promise left this season for this promising team and at this rate, they’ll be back on Europe’s biggest stage next year.
11/3: Schalke 04 (A)
18/3: 1. FC Köln (H)
1/4: Bayern Munich (A)
5/4: RB Leipzig (A) – DFB-Pokal
8/4: Union Berlin (H)
15/4: VFB Stuttgart (A)