Borussia Dortmund have missed out on a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, with a dramatic 90 minutes away to Chelsea ending in a 2-0 (1-0) loss.
Boris Rupert reporting from London
Sterling scored on the stroke of half-time before Havertz’s penalty shortly after the interval, which was controversial in several respects, put Chelsea 2-0 in front and on course for a place in the quarter-finals. Borussia dug in and vehemently pushed for the goal they needed to take the tie into extra-time but it was to no avail.
Borussia had travelled to London on the back of a 1-0 victory in the first leg – a 10th competitive triumph in succession – while Chelsea had registered only two wins in their 12 competitive matches in 2023.
BVB went into the match without full-back Ryerson, who was suspended, and the injured Adeyemi, the goalscorer from the first leg, while goalkeeper Kobel was missing from the starting line-up too – with the risk deemed too great. Meyer lined up between the sticks as he did against Leipzig (2-1), with Kobel one of two goalies on the bench.
Chelsea took to the field in a 3-4-3 formation with a highly flexible front three. BVB lined up in a 4-3-3 system.
The match & analysis:
It was not only the game that got off to an extremely unfortunate start, but the transportation too. The team buses, which had been running on time, came to a standstill 500 metres from the stadium and did not move a metre. The kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes and then, three minutes into the game, Brandt signalled that he could not continue. He was helped off the pitch with his thigh bandaged up, with Reyna replacing him.
The first opportunity fell to the home side, Havertz putting Özcan under decisive pressure but firing the ball into the side-netting (5). Chelsea set up camp in the Dortmund half in the opening stages. It was around the 10-minute mark that BVB took control of the game and the opponent, enjoying a strong spell up until around the 35th minute and going close to taking the lead: Reus saw his precise and powerful free-kick kept out by goalkeeper Kepa, who clawed the ball away from the left corner of the goal (17). Aside from one incident, which saw Havertz fire a loose ball against the left upright of the Dortmund goal (28), the Black & Yellows had proceedings entirely under control and created another opportunity for themselves when Reyna played in Wolf, who got the better of the energetic Fernandez in the penalty area but could not pick out a team-mate with his cross into the six-yard box (25).
Chelsea seized the upper hand in the closing minutes of the first period. Havertz thought he had made it 1-0, only for the goal to be disallowed due to an offside position. A free-kick delivered by Chilwell found Joao Felix, who got to the ball amidst a crowd of bodies but was denied by the strong reactions of Meyer (40). Four minutes later, Sterling miskicked Chilwell’s cross but got a second bite of the cherry and hammered the ball into the roof of the net to make it 1-0 with the Blues’ 11th shot of the game. BVB could not relieve the pressure in this spell – and they were punished for it.
The second half got off to just as unfortunate a start as the first. Barely two minutes had been played when Wolf turned away as a cross came in and the ball struck his hand. “Not an unnatural movement of the body,” former FIFA referee Stark told “Prime”, but the Dutch match officials saw the situation differently. Referee Makkelie consulted the monitor and pointed to the spot. Havertz delayed his run-up for the penalty significantly and struck the right post. Though players from both (!) teams had encroached into the penalty area by the time Havertz struck the ball, Makkelie ordered the kick to be retaken and this time Havertz found the bottom right corner (53).
BVB now regained the ascendancy. Caught by surprise, Bellingham did not connect with the ball properly and missed from 10 metres out (58). Wolf then drew a lovely save from Kepa (65). Reyna was now dropping back in the build-up play, while Özcan’s replacement Bynoe-Gittens played level with Haller and the full-backs, who were pushing extremely high up, in attack with Reus between the lines. Borussia were dominating proceedings. Bellingham’s header landed on the roof of the net (89) and his misplaced cross was gathered by the stretching Kepa (90+3).
The Leipzig and Chelsea games will be followed by another cracker on Saturday: the 160th Ruhr derby against Schalke 04. Kick-off at the stadium in Gelsenkirchen will be at 18:30 CET.
Teams & goals
UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Return Leg
CHELSEA 1-0 (1-0) BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Chelsea: Kepa – Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella – James, Kovacic (Pulisic, 83), Fernandez (Zakaria, 87), Chilwell – Havertz, Sterling (Loftus-Cheek, 83), Joao Felix (Gallagher, 67)
Bor. Dortmund: Meyer – Wolf, Süle, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro – Can – Bellingham, Özcan (Bynoe-Gittens, 64) – Brandt (Reyna, 5), Reus – Haller (Malen, 73)
Substitutes: Bettinelli, Bergström, Chalobah, Mudryk, Ziyech, Chukwuemeka, Hall – Kobel, Unbehaun, Dahoud, Hummels, Modeste, Passlack, Rothe, Bynoe-Gittens, Coulibaly
Goals: 1-0 Sterling (44), 2-0 Havertz (penalty for handball, 53)
Corners: 5-3 (3-2 at half-time), chance ratio: 5-3 (4-1)
Referee: Makkelie (Netherlands), yellow cards: Kepa, Chilwell, Cucurella – Süle, Wolf, Bellingham
Attendance: 38,882, weather: dry, 1 degree