Chelsea overthrow Borussia Dortmund to advance to Champions League quarter-finals
The game: 2-0
Night of premieres at Stamford Bridge. For the first time in 2023, Chelsea scored more than one goal in the same game, knocking Borussia Dortmund out of the Champions League, thereby conceding their first loss since the World Cup.
As if to symbolize the Chelsea version 2022-2023 team, the Blues made up for their delay in the first leg on an action tainted with clumsiness. Served back in the area, Raheem Sterling shot into the void when receiving the ball, before benefiting from a favorable counter from Marco Reus and striking, at the penalty spot, a powerful shot from the right under the bar of Alex Meyer (1-0, 43rd).
And the Londoners began the second act as they finished the first. After VAR intervention, the Blues obtained a penalty for a handball from Marius Wolf in the area on a cross from Mateo Kovacic. Kai Havertz sent him to the post, but video support called Mr Makkelie back and ordered the penalty kick removed, as BVB players had entered the box. There, Kai Havertz did not flinch and managed his counter-foot (2-0, 53rd), sealing the qualification of the English.
However, the Sterling-Havertz-Félix trio, lined up at kick-off, recalled how Chelsea are orphaned by a pure number 9 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang not having been registered to play in the Champions League. The start of the match, to the advantage of the Blues, could have been materialized much earlier by Raheem Sterling, launched alone in the back of the defense but unable to make a decision in front of Alex Meyer (2nd). Or by João Félix, who came up against the exit of the Borussia goalkeeper after eliminating Süle (6th), or by Kai Havertz, put into orbit by the Portuguese, who missed the target against Meyer (8th).
Chelsea players even reached the climax of inefficiency, or clumsiness, when Havertz’s half-volley, from the left, hit Meyer’s post (28th), then when Kalidou Koulibaly missed a goal ready made on a set piece, sending the ball back instead of sliding it into the net (40th). And Marco Reus could well have punished all these beautiful people if Kepa Arrizabalaga had not relaxed on his right to remove his free kick which slipped into the goal (17th).
Over the two matches, Chelsea thus obtained a deserved qualification (34 shots to 27 in aggregate) that Jude Bellingham could have annihilated, if he had managed to frame his shot at close range (58th). Too little present in the surface of Kepa and handicapped by the very premature injury of Julian Brandt (5th), the BVB takes the door and hopes to console itself with the Championship, of which he is the co-leader with Bayern Munich.
Beaten for the first time in 2023, Borussia Dortmund remained silent, which had not happened to them since November 8 (0-2 in Wolfsburg). BVB had scored 27 goals in their last 11 matches.
The player: Raheem Sterling half fig half grape
Often served by his teammates beyond the limit of offside, and clumsy in the opposing area, it is however from him that the salvation of the Blues came. The English international, on yet another missed gesture, had the good fortune to take advantage of a favorable counterattack at the end of the first period to put the counters equal on all of the two confrontations.