Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Chelsea: Adeyemi punishes sloppy Blues
Chelsea were punished for a sloppy performance against Borussia Dortmund, as Karim Adeyemi’s second-half strike gave the Blues a slender 1-0 lead in the Champions League last 16.
Graham Potter’s team will have home advantage in the rematch at Stamford Bridge on March 7, but they left Signal Iduna Park regretting lost opportunities.
In an intriguing match in Germany, Joao Felix missed two excellent first-half chances before Adeyemi’s 63rd-minute strike heaped extra misery on Chelsea after a vicious counter-attack.
The Blues still have a chance to win the tie, but Potter and his team cannot afford to struggle in front of goal in the return leg in west London.
Thiago Silva scored after 16 minutes, only to have the goal ruled off and the center-back warned for an apparent intentional handball past Gregor Kobel.
In a frantic first half, Marius Wolf sliced a wonderful opportunity wide and Sebastien Haller shot barely off target from a promising opening.
After a powerful run, Joao Felix wastedly blasted over before hitting the crossbar, while Wolf arrowed narrowly wide with Kepa Arrizabalaga scrambling.
After the break, Kobel made an excellent save to deny Reece James’ precision free-kick, then the Dortmund goalkeeper blocked a bouncing volley from the England right-back shortly after.
As Dortmund broke from the subsequent corner, Adeyemi was clinical, being released by Raphael Guerreiro and sprinting past Enzo Fernandez before rounding Kepa to score.
After Kalidou Koulibaly’s effort slid under Kobel, Emre Can cleared off the line, and Fernandez saved Dortmund’s tight advantage in the final minute.
What does it imply? Dortmund has an advantage.
Dortmund defeated an English team in European competition for the first time in 11 attempts, though their first such success since March 2016 – against Tottenham Hotspur – came with some luck.
When Joao Felix’s pair of misses came back to haunt the Blues on the road, Potter will be wondering what his Chelsea team needs do to go past Kobel in the rematch.
A same effort at home could be enough to beat Dortmund, but Potter’s team cannot count on having such an abundance of opportunities again as they face an early European exit.
The distinction is Adeyemi.
While the outstanding Brandt generated four chances in a productive performance, Adeyemi will be remembered for his incredible breakaway goal.
The 21-year-old has scored in each of his past three competitive outings, which is one more than he had in his first 20 BVB games.
Havertz’s Dortmund wait continues.
Potter has consistently trusted Kai Havertz to lead Chelsea’s line, but the Germany international met a familiar fate against BVB.
The forward created four chances and attempted four shots, but he has now gone eight games without scoring against Dortmund, more than any other opponent in his professional career. He has dropped all five of his road games versus Dortmund.
What comes next?
Chelsea host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, while Dortmund hosts Hertha Berlin the following day in the Bundesliga.