Does Chelsea win over BVB in Champions League mark turnaround for Potter?
Chelsea beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, securing a place in the Champions League quarter-finals and easing growing pressure on head coach Graham Potter. Three weeks ago in Germany, Chelsea needed to close a 1-0 gap from the first leg in Germany and Chelsea got off to a fast start but had to wait for a Raheem Sterling strike in the 43rd minute to break the stalemate.
Kai Havertz won with a total score of 2:1, converting a penalty in the 53rd minute on the second attempt. The penalty was awarded after referee Danny McKelle was sent to the monitor by VAR official Paul Van Bockel to check on Marius Wolff’s handball. Havertz’s first shot hit the post, but VAR detected an intrusion into the penalty area by several Dortmund players and Havertz scored a retake.
Christian Pulisic made his first appearance for Chelsea since 5 January as a late substitute, and Chelsea seized on a precious victory that sees them reach the top eight of European club competitions for the second successive season.
1. Potter is enjoying the best night since he became Chelsea boss
Chelsea may have beaten Leeds United with a single unanswered goal last weekend, but Potter was still under significant pressure ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Borussia Dortmund.
The sheer scale of the recent investment in the club by the owners – around £600m – demands higher immediate returns than the Blues have received in recent times. An early Champions League exit would bolster Potter’s critics who say the job could be too much for the 47-year-old.
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Potter visibly perked up on the touchline in this match, regularly trying to rally the crowd and reacting to referee decisions with more energy than usual.
Perhaps the most revealing moment came when Havertz tried to convert his penalty in the 53rd minute on his second attempt. Potter sat in his seat and couldn’t look. It may have been difficult at times, but it certainly has to be considered Potter’s best night since he took over from Thomas Tuchel in September.
The prospect of a Champions League quarter-final next month will give Potter a tangible achievement to point to if the internal stuttering continues. But he will hope that consecutive wins for the first time since October prove to be a welcome turning point.
2. Have Chelsea found their shooting boots?
Lack of goals was Chelsea’s biggest problem under Potter. It threatened to be another very disappointing evening as they repeatedly created and then ignored a series of chances, including when Havertz hit the post or when the ball hit the net with a brilliant finish only to have the offside flag raised.
But this time, Chelsea were rewarded for their perseverance.
Raheem Sterling withstood the hot first half, but did not retreat from his task and two minutes before the break fired at the home team. It took Havertz two tries, but he converted his second penalty after hitting the post first when several Dortmund players invaded the box.
Notably, this was the first time since 27 December that Chelsea had scored more than one goal in a game. It was exactly what they needed to do to qualify, but the encouraging performance of Joao Felix and Havertz in particular should help Chelsea get rid of what must have been, at least in part, a mental problem in front of the net.
3. An exhausted Dortmund needed more from Bellingham
In Dortmund, key attacking players Karim Adeyemi and Youssouf Mukoko, as well as goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, were already out of injury when their preparations were further disrupted by a late arrival at Stamford Bridge, delaying kick-off by 10 minutes.
To make matters worse, Julian Brandt was forced to leave with an injury within the first five minutes, and so the task of holding the lead in the first leg became more difficult by almost every minute.
In such cases, teams need big players to step up and although Jude Bellingham is only 19 years old, he was previously team captain and is a vital player in Dortmund’s attack. Unfortunately for BVB, it was not his best night.
Bellingham was not to blame for Dortmund’s departure, but equally the midfielder has failed to impact the game to the extent that his proposed transfer fees have skyrocketed ahead of a likely summer move to either the Premier League or La Liga.
He missed a great chance to reach the Dortmund level on aggregate just before the hour mark when a shot from Sebastian Haller hit Ben Chilwell and landed on him 7 yards away. Notably, Bellingham did this extensively.
A brilliant career certainly awaits such an incredibly gifted player, but this night must be forgotten.
Best and Worst Performers
Best: Kai Havertz, Chelsea
Tied the game wisely, a brilliant shot was ruled out for offside, and he took a second chance to score from the penalty spot to seal a priceless win.
Best: Matthew Kovacic (Chelsea)
Won a midfield battle for Chelsea and set the tone for an authoritative collective performance.
Best: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)
Regular threat down the left flank and made a vital interception on the break shot.
Worst: Jude Bellingham, Borussia Dortmund
Missed a great chance at the hour mark and wasn’t at his best influential.
Worst: Sebastien Haller, Borussia Dortmund
Struggled to impose himself, only completing 60% of his passes and only managing one hit.
Worst: Rafael Guerreiro, Borussia Dortmund
Lost six out of ten duels and gave away the ball too often.
Highlights and Notable Moments
It wasn’t the prettiest sequence, but nonetheless Raheem Sterling put Chelsea on the board in the 43rd minute.
The ball fell enticingly at Sterling’s feet and he swung at it only to miss, but he managed to hit the follow-up.
RAHIM STERLING RAISE THE ROOF OF STAMFORD BRIDGE! 💥 pic.twitter.com/qB6i64wOD8
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 7, 2023
After the ball from Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell hit the hand of Borussia’s Marius Wolf, a video review followed and the referee pointed to the spot.
Kai Havertz took the lead and missed, but the referee ordered a takedown due to encroachments on the penalty area, and Havertz missed the same mistake twice, giving Chelsea a 2-0 lead at the end of the match and 2-1 at the end of the match. unit.
Jude Bellingham has a chance to bring Dortmund back to a draw, but he misses it. 😮 pic.twitter.com/hBewARJe4o
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 7, 2023
Although Chelsea were better that evening, Borussia Dortmund didn’t have a chance.
Within five minutes of Havertz’s goal, Bellingham had a chance to pull back one goal for BVB but narrowly missed.
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After the match: what coaches and players said
Chelsea manager Graham Potter on his health: “I’m not sure! There were a lot of emotions at the end. It was tense at the end, but the guys played fantastic. I’m glad they won and everyone here is great.”
Potter on the result after rough stretching: “It was a fantastic feeling in the dressing room. We have gone through a difficult period and this competition means a lot to us. We wanted to progress and get into the last eight and that will set us up for the next few weeks.”
BVB manager Edin Terzic on the result: “I think in the first 10 minutes you can feel the power of not only Chelsea, but also the stadium. After that, we returned to the game, but they managed to score, but we did not. We had a clear chance through Bellingham and only needed to defend ourselves with a couple of counterattacks. We didn’t create until much later, and that’s the problem.”
BVB midfielder Jude Bellingham on the awarding of a penalty and then the retake: “It’s a yard or two. I’m not too sure. I don’t want to get into trouble. That in itself was disappointing, but the fact that they re-shot the ball is a joke. there will be intrusions up there, people running into the box a yard or so, but it’s a game. They made a decision and we had to deal with it.”
Key statistics (provided by Sportzshala Stats & Information research)
Chelsea reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the 12th time, while Juventus finished fifth all-time.
Dortmund ended their 10-game winning streak in all competitions with their first defeat ahead of the World Cup (November 11).
Chelsea have won back-to-back games in all competitions for the first time since October 2022, in a four-game winning streak spanning from 1 to 16 October.
Chelsea’s Kai Havertz has converted all 15 penalties of his career (11 of 11 at club level), excluding penalties.
Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling has now scored 27 UEFA Champions League goals, three fewer than Wayne Rooney.
Giovanni Reina came on as a substitute for the injured Julian Brandt at Borussia Dortmund in the fifth minute and led his team by creating two chances and picking up two offensive fouls.
Chelsea: The Blues will resume their Premier League campaign with a visit to Leicester City on Saturday, March 11 at 10:00 am ET. Chelsea host Everton next week in a league game.
Borussia Dortmund: The BVB is turning their attention back to the Bundesliga where they will visit Schalke 04 on Saturday March 11 (Live on Sportzshala+ at 12:30 pm ET). Dortmund will then host Cologne in a league game on Saturday, March 18 (Live on Sportzshala+ at 1:30 pm ET).