A late goal by defender Kevin Grosskreutz in the 87th minute spared Borussia Dortmund of a draw, and catapulted the squad to a 2-1 victory over Marseille and a spot in the Round of 16 in Champions League play Wednesday night at Velodrome.
Sitting three points behind first-place Arsenal, and tied with Napoli with nine points but ahead by goal differential, the German club pulled ahead into first place of Group F after the Italian side defeated the Gunners 2-0 at San Paol. Arsenal pulled back to second place in the group.
Not even making the Round of 16 would have been a crushing blow to Jurgen Klopp’s side after making last year’s final against eventual champion Bayern Munich.
Forward Robert Lewandowski netted his fourth goal of the tournament in the fourth minute, easily skipping past the Marseille backline off a deep assist from Erik Durm, before chipping a shot over keeper Steve Mandanda.
Coming up with a simple rebound all alone in front of the net after a set piece drawn up for midfielder Saber Khelifa, Marseille defender Souleymane Diawara responded in the 14th with a header for the 1-1 tie.
Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet picked up his second yellow card in the 35th minute, after he was accused of taking dive, and forced the home squad to play down a man for the majority of the match. Payet’s first yellow came off a rough foul on Dortmund’s Jakub Blaszczkowski three minutes prior.
Yet Dortmund managed only three shots on target, despite holding a significant 67-33 possession advantage, and never surrendering a corner to Marseille.