Borussia Dortmund continued its triumphal march against shopping world champion FC Chelsea and nurtured hopes of the first Champions League quarter-finals in two years. The third-placed player in the Bundesliga showed a fearless and highly committed performance against the star ensemble from London around Kai Havertz, who had been pimped up with 600 million.
The much acclaimed goal to make it 1-0 (0-0) was scored by national striker Karim Adeyemi in the 63rd minute with a splendid 70-metre solo. The decision on progress will be made in the second leg of the eighth final on March 7th at Stamford Bridge.
Both teams didn't bother with banter in Dortmund. BVB stormed towards the guest goal immediately after the kick-off. Julian Brandt's shot attempt was blocked. Take a deep breath, no, Chelsea promptly counterattacked to the singing of the Dortmund fans.
Nils Schlotterbeck stopped the highly talented Ukrainian newcomer Mychajlo Mudryk with a class tackle. Together with the Argentinian world champion Enzo Fernández, this duo alone had cost Chelsea 200 million euros on the 330 million euro shopping spree just in winter. It stayed intense on the pitch, it stayed loud in the stands. "The spectators here will also play a major role," Chelsea coach Graham Potter suspected before the start of the streaming service DAZN.
However, his team repeatedly broke away dangerously from the Dortmund pressure and often tried to bring national player Havertz into play via Mudryk's left flank. An initial corner plus from Chelsea had no consequences for BVB, as did a free kick that guest captain Thiago Silva boldly and obviously directed into the goal with his hand. Instead, Chelsea's defense chief had to hold back a bit so as not to be thrown off the pitch prematurely. He received a yellow card for handball.
Dortmund started the new year with six wins in their first six competitive games. And this is how the team, in which captain Marco Reus was initially missing, presented itself against the tenth place in the Premier League. Coach Edin Terzic wanted to stabilize the center and brought in Salih Özcan in midfield.
The team was led by just 19-year-old Jude Bellingham as captain. Sébastien Haller should cause danger in the center of the attack - like in the 27th minute. Brilliantly used by the powerful Brandt, the Frenchman's shot just missed the Chelsea goal.
More possession than Chelsea, good combinations, commitment and passion, but BVB was never allowed to feel safe. In one of the quick counterattacks, João Félix (32nd), who was also new in the winter, didn't aim precisely enough, five minutes later he hit the crossbar. In between, Adeyemi narrowly missed the goal with a shot from the penalty area. In a fast-paced first half it was Brandt again, who once again gave world champion Fernández no chance and hung up Marius Wolf. The shot of the 27-year-old also went past.
Reus stayed on the bench with Dortmund at the beginning of the second half, but Chelsea put pressure on the field. And it was the minutes of Gregor Kobel, who kept his box clean in a few saves. A goal threatened, but BVB took the lead thanks to Adeyemi's super sprint. Deep in his own half, the Germany international got the ball and started running. Past the Chelsea pros, past the Chelsea keeper. With his left foot he pushed the ball into the empty goal.
However, Borussia could not sit back with the best will in the world, it remained an intense and thrilling game. In dire need, Emre Can scraped the ball off the line in the 78th minute, before things got heated on the sidelines in the final phase, including pack formation, after a foul by Dortmund right in front of the Chelsea bench. But BVB survived that too.