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Chelsea overcome Dortmund deficit to reach CL last eight

Kai Havertz’s retaken penalty helped Chelsea move into the Champions League quarter-finals as they overturned a one-goal deficit from the first leg to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on aggregate.

Havertz sent his initial effort against the post after Marius Wolf was penalised for handball but a re-take was ordered due to encroachment and the Germany international held his nerve, picking the same spot and converting at the second attempt (53).

Raheem Sterling had earlier levelled the tie on aggregate with a powerful strike from the centre of the box from Ben Chilwell’s cut-back (43) following a positive start by the hosts at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea, buoyed by Saturday’s much-needed 1-0 win over Leeds in the Premier League, came into the game having only scored twice in their previous seven games but finally found some cutting edge in front of goal, the victory keeping their European dream alive and relieving some of the pressure on head coach Graham Potter.

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Tim Sherwood reacts to Kai Havertz’s penalty for Chelsea against Borussia Dortmund after the German hit the post, but was fortunately awarded a retake

How Chelsea fought past Dortmund

After a delay of 10 minutes to the kick-off time due to traffic around Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were quickly onto the front foot, Joao Felix seeing an early effort charged down by Alexander Meyer before Havertz fired wildly over when put through on goal.

Dortmund weathered the early storm and went close themselves when a Marco Reus free-kick forced an acrobatic save from Kepa Arrizabalaga, but Chelsea were soon in the ascendency again.

They moved the ball forward with speed and directness and, despite some sloppiness in possession, the approach saw them create a succession of first-half chances, with Havertz crashing a shot off the inside of the post which whistled across the goal-line.

Team news

  • Reece James was passed fit to start for Chelsea while Marc Cucurella also returned as Graham Potter persisted with a back three.
  • Alexander Meyer replaced Gregor Kobel in goal for Dortmund and Marco Reus started in place of Kevin Adeyemi in attack.

Havertz then thought he had opened the scoring when a second effort thundered in off the underside of the bar after Sterling had been denied by Meyer, but the linesman raised his flag, with VAR showing Sterling to be just offside in the build-up.

It felt like a familiar story for Chelsea, even more so when the unmarked Kalidou Koulibaly mis-kicked a Chilwell corner with Meyer stranded, and Felix then saw his follow-up effort blocked.

But the breakthrough finally arrived when Chilwell accelerated into the Dortmund box on the left and cut the ball back for Sterling, who fired home at the second attempt after initially failing to make a proper connection with his shot.

Dortmund's Marco Reus challenges Chelsea's Enzo Fernandez
Image: Dortmund’s Marco Reus challenges Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea were indebted to Chilwell again when he showed impressive alertness at the other end to prevent Raphael Guerreiro from going through on goal just before the break, and their second arrived shortly after play resumed for the second half.

Dortmund felt the penalty award was harsh given Wolf’s proximity to Chilwell when the wing-back’s attempted cross struck his hand, but referee Danny Makkelie was unmoved by their protests having consulted the pitch-side monitor.

Chelsea were then handed a reprieve when a re-take was ordered for encroachment by Dortmund’s players after Havertz had sent his effort against the upright, but he finished clinically with his second, once again stuttering his run-up as he picked the same spot.

Chelsea's Kai Havertz, right, celebrates with teammate Joao Felix after scoring his sides second goal during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Chelsea FC and Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge, London, Tuesday March 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Image: Chelsea’s Kai Havertz scored from the penalty spot

Dortmund had the better of things after that as they attempted to force extra-time, but Chelsea withstood the visitors’ pressure, with Jude Bellingham sending a glorious chance wide and Wolf seeing a diagonal effort saved by Kepa.

In the end, the one-goal aggregate advantage proved sufficient for the hosts, with a delighted Potter joining the celebrations on the pitch afterwards, the victory keeping their hopes of Champions League glory alive despite their Premier League struggles.

What’s next for Chelsea?

Chelsea return to Premier League action with an away trip to Leicester City on Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.

The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals takes place on March 17, with the first and second legs to be played on April 11,12 and April 18, 19.


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