Chelsea battled from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 (2-1 on aggregate) at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League last 16.
After a limp 1-0 defeat in the Ruhr Valley last month, Graham Potter’s struggling Blues produced a valiant showing back in west London to put BVB to the sword in a confident 2-0 triumph. Goals from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz separated the sides and ensure Chelsea are in the pots for the quarter-finals.
It was an entertaining night in the Champions League between Chelsea and Dortmund — and here’s how the players rated at Stamford Bridge:
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 7 – Made a brilliant save early on to deny Marco Reus from a free-kick, outstretching with a firm glove to keep the German at bay. He carried that dextrous form into the second half.
Reece James – 8 – Chelsea have missed his robust energy when he hasn’t featured this season, and tonight’s commanding showing underlined just why he is so important to Potter’s set-up. He flew hither and thither down the wing and refused to let up, delivering some extremely threatening low drives in Dortmund territory.
Wesley Fofana – 7 – Match-winner on the weekend, defensive lock tonight, Fofana was first to just about everywhere. The summer signing carried the ball into midfield with the confidence and swagger of an enganche, while also performing his defensive duties extremely well.
Kalidou Koulibaly – 7 – Won most of the aerial duels with Haller, the Senegalese centre-back was always in for a tough night against Dortmund’s imposing centre-forward, but he held his own well. He can be forgiven for that gilt-edged miss in the first half.
Marc Cucurella – 7 – Battled hard and got stuck in, the mop-haired Spaniard certainly left the field with his shorts muddy, but he was also slick with his distribution as he combined well with Chilwell on the left, underlapping with confidence.
Ben Chilwell – 9 – Burst forward to claim an opening assist (sort of) with a laser-guided whip to Sterling, who required two takes to bury the opener. He also made a match-winning tackle at the other end after Guerreiro found himself one-v-one against Kepa late into the first half, only for Chilwell to snuff out the danger. He later blocked a Reyna shot that looked like it may have been creeping in. Hero at both ends.
Mateo Kovacic – 8 – Tenacious, skilful, metronomic, Kovacic was relentless with his running tonight, crunching into challenges, carrying the ball up the turf in elegant strides and setting the tempo. He manned the engine room with distinction.
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Enzo Fernandez – 8 – Tidy, aggressive and industrious, the Argentine snapped into tackles, put in the hard yards and anchored the midfield exceptionally well. When BVB looked like breaking, Fernandez was there to neutralise their threats.
Raheem Sterling – 7.5 – The England international was initially struggling to find his rhythm until his goal, with several overcooked touches and offsides, but he brought Chelsea back into the game and kept Sule and Schlotterbeck on their toes consistently. A real livewire for Chelsea tonight.
Joao Felix – 7 – The Portuguese trickster made some exceptional touches throughout the match and combined beautifully with Havertz in that first half as the Blues dominated the attacking phase of play. His final-third command fizzled out a little as the game went on, but it was a fine overall showing.
Kai Havertz – 8 – A truly brilliant individual showcase, the unorthodox Chelsea forward linked play fluidly with his nonchalant style. His one-touch passes kept Chelsea’s attack flowing, while his penetration gave them a directness going forward. He also took his (second) penalty with an ice-cold confidence.
Conor Gallagher (for Felix 66′) – 7 – His manager wanted a scrapper and that is exactly what he got, the enterprising No. 8 brought a renewed vigour to keep Chelsea’s high-octane tempo at full throttle.
Christian Pulisic (for Kovacic 82′) – N/A – Came on for the final 10 minutes.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (for Felix 82′) – N/A – Came on for the final 10 minutes.
Denis Zakaria (for Fernandez 86′) – N/A – Came on for the final few minutes.
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Alexander Meyer – 5 – Didn’t do a lot wrong, the BVB gloveman, but he was unable to keep Sterling’s shot out of his net despite getting a slight hand to it, while he lost out to Havertz in the psychological battle from 12 yards.
Marius Wolf – 4 – Struggled to contain Chilwell, who burst forward with freedom, while it was his outstretched hand that conceded the penalty — though he certainly can’t be blamed too much for the tight infringement. Lost his head a bit towards the end.
Niklas Sule – 6 – Sauntered forward and looked to instigate attacking moves for Dortmund, such is his predilection for vertical wandering, but he was unable to impose that influence, while Chelsea also cut through his defence at times.
Nico Schlotterbeck – 6 – Recycled possession well enough to keep Dortmund ticking over in the second half, but it wasn’t the most authoritative showing at the back from the ball-playing defender.
Raphael Guerreiro – 6 – Attacked with his usual gusto and nearly drew Dortmund back level late into the first half, but for Chilwell’s block, though James was allowed far too much room to thrive down his side.
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Emre Can – 7 – Despite the result, Can impressed for Dortmund in his flexible role through the middle. Sometimes the versatile midfielder was a No.6 protecting the backline, at other times he was dropping deep as a libero. Without his shuttling and sweeping up, BVB would have been in for a cricket-score drubbing.
Jude Bellingham – 6 – Some very neat touches and silky strides, but the England international wasn’t able to stamp his typically-imposing authority on the match. He is a joy to watch, but this wasn’t his finest game.
Salih Ozcan – 5 – Made some crucial blocks and tackles early on, but his midfield influence waned as Chelsea started to amp up the pressure and control the centre circle.
Julian Brandt – N/A – The playmaker was unfortunate to go off early with an injury
Marco Reus – 6 – Tried to unlock doors and create openings, but the seasoned playmaker was kept under lock and key by Kepa’s flexible limbs and Potter’s watertight backline.
Sebastien Haller – 5 – Struggled to impose his authority against Chelsea’s back-three, the usually potent No. 9 was feeding off scraps for much of the contest. He wasn’t able to make anything from them until his withdrawal.
Giovanni Reyna (for Brandt 5′) – 6 – One of Dortmund’s better attackers, the American was threatening in spells.
Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (for Ozcan 64′) – 5 – Looked lively enough, but James didn’t have too many problems.
Donyell Malen (for Haller 77′) – 5 – Brought more energy and fluidity than Haller but not enough to influence the game.
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