Borussia Dortmund stormed into the quarterfinals of the Champions League with a 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday at the Westfalenstadion to give them a 5-2 win on aggregate.
The tie appeared finely poised after a 2-2 draw in Ukraine three weeks ago, but Felipe Santana headed Dortmund on the way to the last eight just after the half-hour mark. When Mario Gotze added a second before the break, Shakhtar already had a huge task to force their way back into the tie. With just over 30 minutes remaining, all hope of a comeback was ended by Jakub Blaszczykowski’s finish.
Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu had said before the second leg that the winner of the tie would make the final of the competition and after having negotiated such a tricky tie, Dortmund must now surely have belief to fulfill that proclamation.
Jurgen Klopp had attempted to play down suggestions before kick-off that his side’s season would have been a failure if they exited the Champions League at this stage. But, having long since lost hope of retaining their Bundesliga title before being dumped out of the German Cup at the hands of Bayern Munich last week, it would have been a severely anti-climactic end to a once promising season had Dortmund crashed out in the last 16.
Dortmund played like a team that were firmly focused on achieving something substantial in Europe this season.
Santana, who was only in the side because Mats Hummels was still recovering from the flu, put Dortmund in the ascendancy on the night and in the tie as he rose highest at the near post and thundered Mario Gotze’s corner past Andriy Pyatov in the Shakhtar goal.
Just eight minutes later Dortmund doubled their advantage. Robert Lewandowski burst free down the right and crossed a perfect low ball in for Gotze who met it with a clever flick eight yards from goal to send it into the far corner.
Shakhtar were not completely out of the equation, though, and came close to pulling a goal back before the break as Roman Weidenfeller did well to tip over Fernandinho’s cross-come-shot.
It was the goalkeeper at the other end, who contributed heavily to sealing the fate of the tie. Ilkay Gundogan shot straight at Pyatov from the edge of the area, but the goalkeeper spilled the ball straight out to Blaszczykowski who finished from close range.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.