Borussia Dortmund were officially eliminated from advancing in the UEFA Champions League yesterday evening by virtue of a 2-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur. With one match remaining in the group stage, Dortmund will be looking to fall into the Europa League and avoid finishing behind APOEL Nicosia, a result that is within the realm of possibility.
Christian Pulisic and Sokratis missed the match due to injury, the American his second straight, but Dortmund got a boost with the return of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from club suspension. The home side lined up in the usual 4-3-3 with Zagadou again replacing Sokratis in the middle of the defence and Toljan starting on the right. To replace Pulisic on the wing, Bosz opted to start Raphael Guerreiro instead of Max Philipp, who had scored over the weekend against Stuttgart.
Possession went back and forth to start the match and it was the home side the had the first real chance. in the 10th minute, Dortmund enjoyed a little possession in front of Spurs’ goal when Gotze found Yarmolenko with a nice pass to set him up 18 yards out. The Ukrainian’s shot went straight at Hugo Lloris however. Nearly ten minutes later Schmelzer played a beautiful ball over the top to Aubameyang who was behind two defenders. Lloris came out quickly, however, and Auba pulled the shot wide.
Dortmund would break the scoreless draw in the 31st minute. Gotze found Yarmalenko atop the box and he played a backheel flip to Auba, who stepped behind the defence and buried a goal far post past a diving Lloris. A few minutes later Auba could have scored a second on another great pass behind the defence but Eric Dier did well to track back and made a perfect sliding tackle to knock the ball away. At this point Spurs began to take control of possession and for the rest of the first half had the better of the chances.
The second-half belonged to the visitors. In the 49th minute, Harry Kane showed the world class that had been missing in the first-half. Toljan was pressured by Danny Rose and turned the ball over. Rose found Dele Alli who found Kane with a step on his defender, and the England international fired a shot near post that beat Burki to equalize the score.
Dortmund looked to have a golden chance in the 59th minute to go ahead when Yarmolenko was dragged down by Alli for a foul about twenty-five yards out. The free kick was well struck but well cleared by Dier before Zagadou could head the ball past Lloris. The resulting corner was cleared by Spurs.
Spurs should have scored their second in the 62nd minute when a ball over the top almost found Harry Kane. Marc Bartra gained possession but his clearance went right back to Spurs and led to a chance that Burki was able to save but replayed showed was likely offside. From this point Spurs essentially controlled the match but it took a little magic by Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son to finish off the match. Alli roamed down the left dribbling through Dortmund defenders before finding the South Korean whose one-touch led to a magnificent strike over Burki for a 2-1 win.
Dortmund will again look to halt their slide this weekend when they host a Schalke side that has leapfrogged them in the league.