Chelsea defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to progress to the Champions League quarterfinals, relieving the worries of head coach Graham Potter. The Blues started strong and found the back of the net in the 43rd minute thanks to Raheem Sterling’s goal. Kai Havertz scored from the penalty spot at the 53rd minute to secure the aggregate win.
The spot kick had been awarded after the VAR team of Danny Makkelle and Pol Van Boekel reviewed a handball by Marius Wolf. Havertz’s first attempt hit the post but the VAR revealed multiple Dortmund players were encroaching the box, and Havertz successfully converted the retake.
Christian Pulisic made his return to Chelsea after a lengthy absence on Jan. 5, with the Blues managing to secure a vital win that sees them progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the second year in a row.
1. Potter had his best night as Chelsea manager
Despite Chelsea’s victory over Leeds United last weekend with a solitary goal, Potter experienced a lot of pressure ahead of Tuesday’s game with Borussia Dortmund. An immense quantity of money – approximately £600 million – has been put into the club by the owners, and many people were expecting a more profitable outcome for the Blues than what was provided recently.
If the team had been eliminated from the Champions League, it may have supported the idea that the job was too challenging for Potter, aged 47.
Potter seemed more energized throughout this match on the sideline, attempting to invigorate the crowd and giving more of a reaction to the referee’s decisions than usual. The most telling indication of Potter’s enthusiasm was witnessed when Havertz stepped up to take his 53rd-minute penalty for a second attempt. Potter stayed in his chair and was too anxious to watch. Despite the struggles, this evening could be regarded as the greatest success for Potter since he began succeeding Thomas Tuchel in September.
The prospect of a Champions League quarterfinal in the upcoming month could serve as a recognition of Potter’s accomplishments if the domestic performance continues to be inconsistent. Hopefully, two consecutive wins for the first time since October might be a significant marker of change.
2. Has Chelsea discovered their shooting shoes?
Chelsea’s main difficulty under Potter has been a lack of objectives. Tonight, they had the possibility to be exceptionally maddening once more as they created and afterward neglected numerous possibilities, including when Havertz struck the post and when they had the ball in the net with a brilliant completion just for the offside banner to be raised.
Nonetheless, this time, their determination was compensated with a reward.
Raheem Sterling had a challenging start, but he persevered and put the home side ahead two minutes before half-time. Havertz missed his first attempt from the penalty spot, but was successful on his second go after some Dortmund players infringed in the penalty area. Astonishingly, this was the first time since late December that Chelsea had scored more than once in a match.
This major breakthrough in their goal-scoring was just what they needed to progress and the encouraging showings from Joao Felix and Havertz should help Chelsea conquer their mental block when it comes to scoring.
3. exhausted Bellingham needed to do more for Dortmund
Dortmund were already missing Karim Adeyemi, Youssoufa Moukoko, and goalkeeper Gregor Kobel due to injuries, and their preparation was set back when they arrived late at Stamford Bridge, resulting in the kick-off being delayed by 10 minutes.
To compound their issues, Julian Brandt had to leave the game early in the first five minutes, which made the challenge of maintaining their first-leg lead even more difficult.
On such an occasion, teams required their star players to show leadership, and despite Bellingham’s tender age of nineteen, he had already been captain of the club and was a critical element of Dortmund’s attack. Unfortunately, it was not his most impressive performance.
Bellingham cannot be held accountable for BVB’s elimination, however he was unable to make the same impact that is believed to have prompted the exorbitant transfer fees that could be paid for him in the summer, should he be signed by a team from the Premier League or LaLiga.
Bellingham had a remarkable opportunity to equalize for Dortmund on aggregate, just before the 60th minute, when Sebastien Haller’s shot struck Ben Chilwell, leaving him with a simple shot from 7 yards out.
Unfortunately, he side-footed it wide, thus missing a glorious chance. This will unfortunately be a night to forget in the career of this immensely talented player.
Top and bottom performers
Kai Havertz and Chelsea are the best
He linked up play shrewdly, put in an outstanding effort that was unfortunately disallowed for offside, but then made the most of a second opportunity to put away a crucial goal from the penalty spot, securing a vital win.
Chelsea and Mateo Kovacic are the best
Chelsea dominated the midfield and set the tone for their overall dominating performance.
Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell is the best
Down the left side, there was a consistent danger, but on the cusp of half-time, a critical interception was made.
Worst: Raphael Guerreiro, Borussia Dortmund
He was unsuccessful in six out of his ten duels and frequently relinquished possession of the ball.
Worst: Sebastien Haller, Borussia Dortmund
He had difficulty making an impact, completing only 60% of his passes and firing off only one attempt.
Worst: Jude Bellingham, Borussia Dortmund
He failed to take advantage of the opportunity at the 60-minute mark and did not have a major impact.
Highlights and noteworthy events
Although it wasn’t a particularly attractive move, Raheem Sterling still found a way to put Chelsea ahead in the 43rd minute.
After the ball dropped tantalisingly to him, his first attempt did not pay off, yet he still managed to make contact with the second attempt.
RAHEEM STERLING LIFTS THE ROOF OFF OF STAMFORD BRIDGE! 💥 pic.twitter.com/qB6i64wOD8
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 7, 2023
After a Chelsea shot from Ben Chilwell struck Marius Wolf’s arm, a video review was conducted and the referee signalled for a penalty. Kai Havertz then took the penalty and missed, but due to players encroaching in the box, the referee required it to be re-taken.
Havertz then converted the penalty, giving Chelsea a 2-0 lead in the match, and a 2-1 lead on aggregate.
Jude Bellingham has a chance to put Dortmund back into the tie and misses it. 😮 pic.twitter.com/hBewARJe4o
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 7, 2023
Despite Chelsea being the more dominant side, Borussia Dortmund still had opportunities to equalize the score.
Within a few minutes of Havertz’s goal, Bellingham had the possibility to score a goal for BVB but ultimately missed the target.
What the managers and players said after the game
Graham Potter expressed his joy at the win and indicated his appreciation for his players’ performance: “I’m delighted for them to get the win and great for everyone here. There was a fantastic feeling in the dressing room after the tough period we’ve gone through. We wanted to progress and get into the last eight and it sets us up for the next few weeks.”
Edin Terzic, the manager for Borussia Dortmund, discussed the result and their lack of offensive production: “I think the first 10 minutes you can feel the power not just from Chelsea but from the stadium. After that, we came back into the game but they managed to score and we didn’t. We had a clear chance through Bellingham and only had a couple of counter-attacks to defend. We didn’t create much later and that’s the problem.”
Jude Bellingham commented on the penalty call and the retaking of the kick, saying that the distance of the encroachment was “only a yard or two” and that he was not willing to get into trouble. He noted that the retake was “a joke” and that such slow run-ups will often result in encroachment by a yard or so. He ultimately concluded that although it was disappointing, they had to accept the decision.
Important figures (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)
Chelsea have advanced to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals for the 12th time, matching Juventus in fifth place for the most appearances in tournament history.
After having won ten consecutive matches in all competitions, Dortmund’s streak was broken with a loss since before the World Cup (November 11).
Chelsea have recorded back-to-back victories in all competitions for the first time since October 2022, a four-game winning streak that began on October 1st. Kai Havertz has been successful in all fifteen of his career penalty kicks, excluding penalty shootouts (eleven of which have been achieved at the club level).
Raheem Sterling has scored 27 goals in UEFA Champions League matches, three fewer than Wayne Rooney’s record of most goals scored by an Englishman. Giovanni Reyna was brought in at the fifth minute as a substitute for the injured Julian Brandt and he made an impact with two chances created and two fouls earned in the attacking third.
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