Match Report | Chelsea books quarterfinals place after Champions League round of 16 turnaround
On a night when Chelsea boss Graham Potter needed a massive pick-me-up during a season where the Blues have fallen spectacularly short of expectations on account of new ownership and huge amounts of money spent, the Premier League giants came up big on a night at Stamford Bridge in a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund to book passage into the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
The Germans suffered what could be a huge blow to their season as in-form German international Julian Brandt came off injured in the 4th minute with what looked like a hamstring problem, with United States international Gio Reyna replacing him.
Chelsea has been knocking on the door early and was very much on the front foot right after kickoff through both Kalidou Koulbaly (who headed wide from a corner in the 8th minute) and Kai Havertz, who had gotten a step on the last defender from a ball played over the top but could only put his effort into the side netting after seemingly being bolled over by Emre Can.
Dortmund had their first real chance in the 17th minute from a Marco Reus free-kick from inside twenty-five yards that tested Kepa, but the Spanish international did well to palm away the well-struck effort from the veteran forward.
Havertz once again popped up for Chelsea when his half-volley from just inside the area hit the inside of Alexander Meyer's near post only to bounce parallel to the goal line without crossing it. But the Blues continued to show themselves capable of getting a result on the night despite the result in the first leg.
The Blues finally found the breakthrough with just two minutes of normal time remaining through Raheem Sterling after Dortmund was once again left at sixes and sevens at the back before the England international regained control after his horrendous first effort after Ben Chilwell's cutback before slamming the opener past a helpless Meyer.
Most UCL goals scored by English players:
30 - Wayne Rooney
27 - Raheem Sterling
24 - Paul Scholes
Raheem is closing in on top spot. ?
Potter's men had their position considerably improved after Marius Wolf was judged to have committed a handball in the box just after the restart with the Blues correctly awarded a penalty kick, which originally was missed by Havertz who could only rattle Meyer's left post. It was then re-assessed by VAR that two Dortmund players had strayed into the box before the German's effort, with the former Bayer Leverkusen stepping up to convert his second bite at the apple.
It was the first time this calendar year that Chelsea had scored twice in a match, and perhaps there was no better night to properly get back among the goals for the Premier League giants, but Dortmund nearly came knocking back through Jude Bellingham minutes later only for his header to bounce harmlessly wide where he should have otherwise tested Kepa to his limits.
The Spaniard was tested in the 65th minute by Marius Wolf after the right-back made an underlapping run into the box before unleashing a low drive aimed at the far post, but Kepa outstretched to parry away while keeping the Blues' one-goal cushion intact.
Dortmund did little else for the rest of the second half apart from threaten from a handful of set-piece situations, but hardly unsettled Chelsea enough to craft any credible chances after Bellingham's missed header. As for the Blues, many will be hoping this result will help the club turn the corner on the pitch for the remainder of the season if they have any ambitions of securing European football in 2023-24.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Borussia Dortmund Player Ratings
Chances created by Chelsea outfield players in the first-half:
? Kai Havertz: 2
? Ben Chilwell: 2
? Kalidou Koulibaly: 1
? Mateo Kovacic: 1
? Reece James: 1
? Joao Felix: 1
? Raheem Sterling: 1
? Marc Cucurella: 0
? Enzo Fernandez: 0
? Wesley Fofana: 0
Raheem Sterling in the Premier League for Chelsea in 2022/23:
? Games played: 19
? Goals: 4
? Assists: 2
Raheem Sterling in the #UCL for Chelsea in 2022/23:
? Games played: 6
? Goals: 3
? Assists: 1
Loves European nights under the lights. ?
Expert Takes & Social Media
Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund's form compared ??? pic.twitter.com/w7TX60iY4O
? The pressure on Potter -- is #BVB make-or-break?
? Summer clear-out
? No chance Tuchel will return to #CFC
? Go all-out to sign Felix?
? Mount's future@SJohnsonSport covers a variety of topics ahead of a crucial game for Chelseahttps://t.co/NIdu0n3rkF
"Bit of a journey in!" ?
Despite a slight delay en route to Stamford Bridge, Dortmund manager Edin Terzic appears in high spirits ahead of tonight's clash... ??
? @TheDesKelly pic.twitter.com/Uqms8sIklB
"You can't buy teams and win immediately!"
Former Chelsea boss @GullitR thinks the new owners don't understand that it's hard to gain immediate success in the Premier League and Europe. #beINUCL #UCL #CHEBVB pic.twitter.com/e4agXU3Rpy
Potter needs a performance
Chelsea insist they on sticking by them but the situation has at least made them consider what next - such as Pochettino and De Zerbihttps://t.co/zJjYSpv9iA
"They got rid of everybody..." ?
Thierry Henry says everyone at Chelsea is still learning after wholesale change. pic.twitter.com/WEcUirueNI
Raheem Sterling scores a massive Chelsea goal to level the tie! Took a horribly-timed swing in the box yet got a bit of luck from it and then lashed the ball home! ?
It's been coming - Chelsea have been looking dangerous and have finally made the breakthrough through Sterling's strike.
That's the most animated we've seen Graham Potter celebrating a Chelsea goal. Sterling now has 27 in the Champions League
The fact that Schlotterbeck tends to position himself either 2 metres in front or 2 metres behind the offside line is quite a problem for BVB.
Chelsea score two goals in a game for the first time in 2023.
? I want you to put the word out there that we back up pic.twitter.com/moI6zmrRnz
Jude Bellingham has a chance to put Dortmund back into the tie and misses it. ? pic.twitter.com/hBewARJe4o
Chelsea finally clicked into gear? #UCL
Chelsea (4.29) 2-1 (2.12) Dortmund
You can't deny Chelsea were the better side over two legs. Even in their worst season, the Blues make the last 8 of the #UCL. That's football heritage.