Chelsea briefly out of crisis after reaching CL quarter-finals through win over Dortmund

Chelsea briefly out of crisis after reaching CL quarter-finals through win over Dortmund
Raheem Sterling (Chelsea) celebrates his goal against Dortmund

NOS Football

Being a fan of ‘The Blues‘, but Chelsea are out of the crisis for a while. At their own Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, the English defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-0 (out game 0-1) to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

In an exciting duel, in which Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz scored the goals, Dutch referee Danny Makkelie did not have an easy evening. He also needed the help of VAR on a few occasions, including the decisive penalty for Chelsea.

Two wins

The Londoners could cheer very little this calendar year. Only two of 12 games were won. Under head coach Graham Potter, who is supposed to bring back the magic at Chelsea after Thomas Tuchel’s dismissal but recently received death threats, the club mainly spent many millions and picked up few points. Chelsea dropped to spot ten in the Premier League.

But the Englishmen are now simply among the best eight clubs in Europe. A list in which Dortmund would perhaps fit better, looking at their form and spot in the national rankings. After all, the Germans are shared first in the Bundesliga and have won all of their 10 games played since mid-November.

On a chilly evening in London, that series was broken. An evening that already did not start pleasantly for the Germans, when they saw Julian Brandt out after only four minutes with a hamstring injury. Marco Reus almost curled a free kick in, but otherwise Chelsea were more dangerous before halftime.

Argument between Chelsea and Dortmund players

For example, Havertz hit the post and shot brilliantly via the underside of the crossbar, only for Sterling to be offside after a pass into the deep. When a scrimmage moments later also failed to produce a goal, it was clear that a goal was coming.

It took some luck, as Sterling took the ball past his man-keeper via shin and knee, but his slashing opening goal was a deserved lead.

At that point, Makkelie already had to pay close attention several times. The tempo was high and the duels were fierce. Especially just after halftime there was some sweating, when the ball landed on the arm of Dortmund player Marius Wolf. Makkelie didn’t see it, but VAR buddy Pol van Boekel called his compatriot to the screen for a fresh look. Makkelie pointed to the spot after all.

Penalty again

Havertz shot at the post after a hitch in his run-up, to the delight of the Germans, but the penalty had to be retaken because Van Boekel said some Dortmund players walked in too early at the moment Havertz shot.

Havertz copied his penalty in the retake, but this time just barely hit it. The 2-0 meant that Dortmund needed one goal to force an extension and two goals for the win.

Kalidou Koulibaly kicks a smoke bomb off the field

The Germans attacked with all their might, but when a huge chance by young star Jude Bellingham from six yards didn’t go in either, it was clear it was going to be a difficult story. Base player Sébastien Haller could not bring it and his replacement Donyell Malen did not make a difference either.

Meanwhile, Chelsea didn’t have to do more than hold back, waiting for a counter opportunity. And that came, fifteen minutes before time. The lightning-fast Sterling was again thrown into the depths and found in front of an open goal the Conor Gallagher, who was running along. But Sterling had already been offside.

Six minutes of injury time

Deep into the six minutes of injury time, during which things became even briefly unfriendly between the two teams, Wolf had another free shooting chance in the English sixteen-meter area, but after a touch, goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was able to calmly catch the ball. A sign that the quarter-finals of the Champions League had been reached and that the crisis in England had disappeared for a while.

Kayleigh Williams