Ahead of schedule: final 16 - check!
A strong first and a clever second half were enough: Dortmund performed some real magic in the Amsterdam-Arena yesterday evening by defeating Ajax with 4 - 1 goals. After showing impressing football with fighting spirit throughout the group phase, we did not only „survive“ the „group of death“, we will even finish it as table leader ahead of clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester City. The dutch from Amsterdam showed an offenisve beginning with more ball posession and first chances on their side. Borussia however was as effective as seldom before this season. Reus (8.), Goetze (36.) and Lewandowski (41.) scored for a comfortable lead before the second half even started. With an outstanding defensive performance, Dortmund managed to maintain their lead, leaving Ajax not a single possible chance to catch up - Europe, put something warm on, Borussia is coming!
The situation in group D is cristal clear before match day number five: After two victories and two draws, one point would be enough for Dortmund to reach the round of the last 16. Amsterdam vice versa desperately needs a win against Borussia to even have a small realistic chance to proceed to the knock out phase of the current Champions League season. Borussia played two times against Amsterdam in the recent past. In the quarter final of Champions League Season 2005/2006, Borussia lost 0-2 in the Westfalenstadion and had to face a 0 -1 defeat in Amsterdam and therewith the knock out of the competition.
After things went better against Ajax so far in the current season with the 1 - 0 victory in October in our temple, what can we expect fort his game? Dortmund and Amsterdam will definitely not play unconditionally offensive, therefore there is to much at stake. The home team will play their familiar 4-3-3 system to wait what the dangerous BVB offensive has to offer today. Both clubs by the way did score 6 times in their first four games, so goals are definitely guaranteed.
In Borussias starting formation, coach Juergen Klopp sent Marco Reus back on the pitch in the centre midfield. Goetze will change on his position on the right wing, Kuba, who is yet not ready for full 90 minutes of Champions League after his injury, will remain on the bench. There, also Ivan Perisic will have to take a seat. For him, Kevin will start the game. Not nominated for the match was our captain Sebastian Kehl due to health reasons.
A strong first half
The home team had a good start into the game. With a fast play they tried to overcome the midfield right away in order to put pressure on the Dortmunder defense. As a consequence, Ajax had the first small chance of the game: A cornerkick that dangerously approached the goal had to be saved over the crossbar by Roman (4.). In minute eight, Dortmund showed its effectiveness once more, first chance, first goal: Pizcek got the ball in our own half and switched into offense right away. The ball came to Goetze on the right wing, who was not attacted properly by Moisander. As a consequence, Goetze could forward the ball soft and easy with all the sense in his foot to Reus who was sprinting into the box. Reus then passed the overtaxed Poulsen and did nutmeg keeper Vermeer for the 1-0 lead - just beautiful.
With this early lead, Dortmund was in the best position for the remaining 80 minutes. Ajax had to open up, playing more offensively in order to equalise, whereas Dortmund with its fast midfielders Goetze, Reus and Grosskreutz could wait for further counter attacks. After starting the match better than our BVB, the Dutch national champion remained with no chance after our early lead. With the 4 man defensive line and the defensive midfielders Bender and Guendogan, there was absolutely no coming through for Ajax (17.). Therefore, a corner kick was the only notable situation for Amsterdam: Weidenfeller could not punch the ball away, it was then received by Eriksen who tried, but missed to chip the ball into the right angle from 18 meters distance (21.). Amsterdam further tried to overcome the BVB defense with long and high passes - no problem for Neven and Mats (23.).
The next promising situation had our BVB: Lewandowski with a flat cross to the sprinting Piszczek who had a lot of space on the right wing. His cross could barely be cleared by Moisanders knee before it reached the ready to score Lewandowski at the penalty spot (25.). Meanwhile, Mario Goetze functioned as a solo-entertainer in the midfield who was on his way to another dream goal after passing three white and red jerseys by himself. Unfortunately, he could not control the ball before he reached the last remaining defender closely before the box - what a solo run (30.). Shortly after, also Reus had a try by himself but the Ajax defensive could not always be made a fool of (32.).
Although trying desperately, Ajax could not stop Dortmund in their offensive play. Hummels proved his overview after obtaining the ball in the midfield by sending Goetze into the depth of the Amsterdamer half on the left wing. Goetze with pace and ball into the box rounded van Rhijn and finished off with a flat shot into the bottom left corner to the 2 - 0 lead for Borussia (37.) At this point of the match, it could not be assumed that Ajax can find ist way back into the game. But they tried: Boerrigter in the box had his chance to shot, being blocked by Neven in the last second (39.).
A few minutes later, Dortmund sealed the deal: After a free kick from Reus - de Jong fouled Schmelzer before - the Ajax defensive could not clear the ball properly. Goetze picked up the ball and had his try at target from 18 meters distance. The shot was deflected by Alderweireld so that goaly Vermeer could just try to block the ball without holding it save. The rebound was received by Lewandowski who reacted quickly and scored just like a striker had to score in such situations - without mercy. 3 - 0 for Borussia (42.) After one minute additional time and an onesided match both teams went of the pitch.
A clever second half
Although the German national squad could not win against Sweden after a 4 - 0 lead just a few weeks ago, it could be assumed that Dortmund already obtained their ticket to the next round. Borussia showed an absolutely brilliant game so far, leaving Ajax not a single promising chance. Dominating in the defense and furious in the offense - football in its purity. Lets see if and how this will change in the second half without thinking to much of the 4-4 against Sweden. Without any change, Klopp sent his squad back on the pitch.
The first promising chance in the second half was then for Ajax: Eriksen somehow appeared freely in front of Weidenfeller. The flat shot from 7 meter distance however was saved by Weidenfellers foot (51.). The next situation was quite ... surprising. After a sliding attack of Moisander against Goetze within the box everyone waited for the penalty whistle as Moisander did not hit the ball and avoiding Goetze to continue the attack. The referee however showed mercy with Ajax by giving Mario the yellow card for a dive... (53.).
In minute 60. another situation we did not really want to see: Enoh did hit Benders nose with his elbow, after a short break, Bender could continue with a bloody nose and was substituted by Perisic shortly after. However, remembering Kehls mask against Madrid, we surely do not want to see our guys in those unnecessary situations. This time, hopefully nothing serious happened (Authors note: Meanwhile this day, an official press release stated that Bender suffered a broken nose after this tackle. However, it looks quite realistic that "Iron Manni" will field against Mainz 05 this weekend.)
The next chance again for Ajax: Lukoni with a cross into the box where Schone could shoot, but Weidenfeller was as good as the other guys in the yellow jerseys today and saved the ball (66.). Dortmund was then on the way to the highest victory in the clubs Champions League history. After quickly passing the midfield, Goetze with a beautiful cross over the defense line to Lewandowski. Robert with brilliant ball control finished off for the 4 - 0 lead from a short angle, leaving goalie Vermeer with a puzzled face behind (68.).
In minute 70., the man of the match left the pitch. Being involved in all four goals (one goal, three assists), Marion Goetze was substituted by Kuba. In the sound of the again overwhelming atmosphere created by the black and yellow supporters, both teams lowered their efforts while the last part of the match approached. Anyway, Ajax could not and Dortmund did not have to keep the high pace much longer (75.). In minute 79., Julian Schieber took over the position for Marco Reus who was beside Mario another success guarantor of the game.
Then, the unexpected consolidation goal for the Dutch: Eriksen passed the BVB midfield and forwarded the ball to Hosen on the left. Aiming at the bottom right corner of the goal, the ball would have missed if Subotic would not have deflected it, making it impossible for Roman to save (87.). With this goal, Dortmund missed the highest victory in its Champions League history. But: Never before in 14 matches a German squad could win in Amsterdam. This award is ours now.
After three minutes additional time, the final whistle blowed and Dortmund therewith Dortmund proceeded in the knock out phase of this years Champions League season. Dortmund won highly deserved in a strong first and a clever second half. Goetze was the overwhelming player this evening - but also the defense line showed one of their more outstanding performances.
Before we will play for the best initial position regarding the draw of the next opponent against City at home, Dortmund will face Kloppo's old squad in Mainz. If our guys will then just show half as much as yesterday evening on the pitch, the three points are nearly guaranteed. Meanwhile this day, Borussia Dortmund released on official press release, thanking their over 20.000 supporters who travelled to all those beautiful cities like Manchester, Madrid and Amsterdam. The fans did play an important part in all these fantastic matches by creating an overwhelming atmosphere over and over again, singing non-stop, supporting with everything they got: heart, passion and a strong voice power. A statement we can only align ourselves with - Thank you, black and yellow family - Heja BVB!
Ajax Amsterdam: Vermeer – van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind – S. de Jong, Poulsen, Schöne – Boerrigter, Eriksen, Enoh
Substitudes: 46. Schöne for C. Poulsen, 63. Hoesen for Enoh, 73. Fischer for Boerrigter
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer – Bender, Gündogan – Reus, Goetze, Grosskreutz – Lewandowski
Substitudes: 63. Perisic for S. Bender, 70. Blaszczykowski for M. Goetze, 79. Schieber for Reus
0:1 Reus (8., Assist: M. Goetze)
0:2 M. Goetze (36., Assist: Hummels)
0:3 Lewandowski (41., Assist: M. Goetze)
0:4 Lewandowski (67., Assist: M. Goetze)
1:4 Hoesen (86., Assist: Eriksen)
Enoh, Moisander, Goetze (1st)