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Chelsea secured a spot in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals by beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 (2-1 on aggregate) on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.
Raheem Sterling scored shortly before half-time and Kai Havertz made the most of his second chance by converting a penalty early in the second half.
[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]
Borussia Dortmund took a 1-0 lead after one leg through Karim Adeyemi, but Chelsea boss Graham Potter insisted his side were very good at the game, just wasteful.
Chelsea join Benfica in the last eight games as Borussia refocus on chasing the Bundesliga crown.
[ MORE: Champions League score predictions ]
Potter Blues showcases style, substance in huge win
Over the past two months, Chelsea have gone through all the tests, and almost all of this has happened on their own initiative.
But there was some question whether Graham Potter should be blamed for the mix of new and old Chelsea failing to find its end despite finding real resolve in its own end.
After Tottenham beat Chelsea 2-0 a few weeks ago, the Blues no longer had a defensive strength to fall back on, with some saying ex-Brighton boss Potter out of his mind and soon he will be put out the door.
Potter admitted he struggled to deal with the criticism, but he stayed on his line and continued to encourage his players to do good.
God, how are they, although it’s a bit comical that Raheem Sterling hit his first shot on Chelsea’s first goal and Kai Havertz had to replay the penalty to make it 2-0.
Nothing came easy for the Blues, but Chelsea continued to struggle and Potter deserves credit for that.
The Blues are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League for any other reason than winning the tournament, but in truth they looked capable of it for 180 minutes against a good team from Dortmund.
Anything can happen in the Final 8 and we’ve already seen Chelsea win the European Cup in a bad season at the start of the London club’s glorious existence.
Chelsea Player Ratings – Borussia Dortmund: Show Stars
Kalidou Koulibaly And Mark Cucurella: Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta were out and Benoît Badiaxile didn’t get through, so the three defenders were a little stretched out. Wesley Fofana was fine, don’t get us wrong, but Koulibaly and Cucurella made us ask, “Who is Thiago?” (before quickly replying to himself, “Thiago Silva. One of the best of his time, yes.”
Emre Can: Efficient at both ends of the field as the former Liverpool player went to great lengths to eliminate his former rivals.
Enzo Fernandez: The day will come when someone will rightly criticize the dear Argentine, but it won’t be a Tuesday: nine rebounds and four clearances next to the roving Mateo Kovacic.
Kai Havertz: He may not have been the most accurate, hitting the post early and conceding his first penalty, but the German missed and was credited with six rebounds. If anything, he should be commended for not fading during this icy race, as he was the only striker that Graham Potter religiously named as the starter.
John Reina: The 20-year-old was pulled into the game after only five minutes and was credited with two created chances, and shortly after Havertz’s penalty he was within Chelsea’s daring goal block.
Chelsea travel to Leicester City for Saturday’s meeting against the Foxes at 10am ET.
Dortmund needs to shake off district derby at 12:30 pm ET on Saturday at Schalke.
Graham Potter reaction
When asked how he feels about winning: “I’m not sure! There’s a lot of emotion at the end. It was tense at the end, but the guys played fantastic. I’m glad they won and I’m happy for everyone here.”
“Inevitably, you will have bad times and good times in life. I don’t see another way to look at it. This is how you react to bad times, see the perspective and analyze it correctly. Things are never bad forever, but sometimes I thought they were.”
Raheem Sterling goal video: England star to correct mistake
Raheem Sterling at Chelsea level vs Borussia Dortmund on aggregate right before half time!
(by using @TUDNUSA)pic.twitter.com/U7cuU38HYm
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) March 7, 2023
Kai Havertz penalty video: Second time is a charm
😳 Controversial but Chelsea goal from 11 steps@ChelseaFC 2 (2-1) 0 @Black Yellow
🔴 LIVE: https://t.co/7nrnFHuLvE
📺 YOU CAN | Wix+ | UniMas#TuChampions pic.twitter.com/XM8duJu21d
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) March 7, 2023
How to watch Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund live, stream link, start time
Date Time: Tuesday, March 7 at 3:00 pm ET (UPDATE: Start delayed to 3:10 pm due to BVB late arrival)
Statistics: Through the scoreboard on NBCSports.com
How to watch: SEE, Paramount+
This game is the Chelsea season. This game will determine if the Graham Potter superstars can improve in the final months of the campaign and continue the Champions League. They have to stay solid defensively and hope their attackers finally work out. They can beat Dortmund and they showed it in the first leg as they dominated the game, missed a few chances and got counterattacked. Sound familiar, Chelsea fans?
The Blues know that if they score in the first half, all systems will fail, but they will be wary of this young team from Dortmund, who, despite many injuries to attacking players, are now flying and absolutely not afraid. If Potter can take Chelsea even to the semi-finals of the Champions League, then the Chelsea fans will ease the pressure on him. Of course they want to finish in the top four in the Premier League, but this is unlikely this season, so the only possibility for them to play in the Champions League next season is to win this tournament. Expectations are high. First of all: let’s see if Chelsea can reach the quarter-finals. Baby steps.
Chelsea team news, squad options
NOT REMOVED: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Thiago Silva (knee), Edouard Mendy (shoulder), Armando Broja (knee), Mason Mount (abdominal), Cesar Azpilicueta (concussion).
Your Chelsea team tonight! 🔵#Championship pic.twitter.com/n1zekhgzvN
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 7, 2023
Borussia Dortmund team news, squad options
OUT: Youssouf Mukoko (knee), Karim Adeyemi (muscle), Gregor Kobel (muscle), Julien Duranville (muscle), Mateu Moray Bauza (fitness)
🚨 BVB START XI VS. CHELSEA 🚨 pic.twitter.com/z9TElmuO5Q
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) March 7, 2023
Tottenham were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, although they managed to avoid defeat in the second leg on Wednesday as they lost 1-0 to Milan in two legs of the round of 16.
[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]
Brahim Diaz scored the only goal of the match in the 7th minute of the first leg, which allowed Milan to play in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2012.
Spurs landed their first shot on goal in the 64th minute as Pierre-Émile Hojbjerg worked his way across the sea Rossoneri T-shirts and shot at an acute angle, not giving Mike Meignan any special problems with the crossbar, but, nevertheless, fixing the shot on goal.
Meanwhile, Milan were happy to withstand the pressure and hit Tottenham on a counterattack, which they did to little effect and allowed the home team to remain tied much longer than they should have.
[ MORE: Champions League score predictions ]
However, Christian Romero made sure of that for Milan when he unnecessarily slipped through Theo Hernandez near the halfway line, earning his second yellow card of the game and leaving Antonio Conte’s team with just 10 players for the last 12 minutes.
In the end, Harry Kane was stripped of the Spurs’ best scoring opportunity three minutes into the second half, and even then his header helped Menyan knock the ball down. 0:0 at night, 0:1 on aggregate.