Few would be surprised to see the second encounter between Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League this season going quite similar to what we saw the Blues do in the first match. There was a lot of urgency in our game and players such as João Félix and Ben Chilwell were making great plays towards getting ourselves a goal. But luck was seemingly not on our side.
Nor was quality finishing, as the Blues insisted on shooting at the keeper instead of trying to avoid him in most of the chances they got. At the one time they did not do so via Kai Havertz with a beautiful shot from range, Raheem Sterling — who started the play — was offside and the goal was thus void. Sterling himself would correct the record a few minutes later.
Yet another great cross from Chilwell did not go unpunished this time around as the English winger, even fumbling possession on his first touch, had the chance to recompose himself in the box and shoot across the keeper to get us ahead in the scoreline and tied in the aggregate. Chelsea insisted on getting a goal before the first half but were unable to add a second before the referee blew the whistle. They had to do so in the second half to avoid extra time, and they got it thanks to Dortmund invading the box during Kai Havertz’s missed penalty attempt.
He would not blow his second chance, though.
Tiredness, tactics, and substitutions invited Dortmund to our defensive third. Still Chelsea were the ones with the better chance to score via Conor Gallagher after Sterling found himself on a break with only the goalkeeper to beat. While the midfielder buried the chance in the back of the net, the goal was deemed offside since Sterling was offside by less than one-fourth of a foot.
Not a perfect performance, but what matters is the aggregate score. And we got that in our favour, fair and square, despite our misgivings. Chelsea overturned their first-leg deficit with a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night to reach the Champions League quarterfinals.
Raheem Sterling smashed home a volley from the top of the six-yard box just before half-time and Kai Havertz scored from the penalty spot early in the second half to send Graham Potter’s struggling Chelsea past Dortmund in the round of 16. Chelsea, who came into the match trailing 1-0 after the first leg and having scored just once in their last four games, had multiple chances go begging in the opening 45 minutes, with Havertz hitting the post before the half-hour and then having a beautiful strike ruled out soon after for offside in the buildup. United States international Giovanni Reyna came on shortly after kickoff of the first half after Julien Brandt pulled up injured, as a lively Dortmund went into the break trailing Chelsea 1-0 from Sterling’s close-range volley.
Brandt, who reached for his hamstring before asking to be subbed off, had been instrumental in Dortmund’s run of 10 straight wins in all competitions and has scored nine goals so far this season for Marco Rose’s side.
Havertz doubled Chelsea’s lead from the spot, but needed two chances to do it. The Germany international bounced his first penalty off the post, but Dortmund was called for encroachment and Havertz stepped up and buried his second try to put Chelsea up 2-0 on the night. Sterling broke free on goal in the 75th minute and squared to substitute Connor Gallagher for an easy tap-in, but the linesman’s flag went up for offside leaving Chelsea clinging to their narrow aggregate lead.
Christian Pulisic, who had been out injured since 5 Jan, was brought on just after 80 minutes for Sterling, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced Mateo Kovacic at the same time as the hosts went on to see out the result. Next up for Chelsea is a Premier League match against Leicester City on Saturday, while Dortmund, who are level on points with Bayern Munich atop the Bundesliga, are away to Schalke.