Chelsea will head into the second leg of their round-of-sixteen tie trailing Borussia Dortmund, who emerged victorious on Wednesday night after Karim Adeyemi gave the Germans the lead following a blistering counter-attack.
Dortmund’s side featured four changes to the team that started against Werder Bremen last time out. Youssouf Moukoko – ruled out through injury – was replaced by Sebastien Haller, while Ryerson, Reyna and Reus were dropped to the bench in favour of Wolf, Ozcan and Adeyemi.
Graham Potter’s Chelsea side also featured three changes. Madueke and Badiashile aren’t eligible to play in Europe, and they were replaced by Ziyech and Koulibaly. Chilwell also replaced Cucurella at left-back. However, the biggest problem for Potter’s side is the lack of an out-and-out striker – with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the most suitable option, but he too has been left out of the Champions League squad.
BVB: Kobel (GK); Guerreiro, Schlotterbeck, Sule, Wolf; Can; Adeyemi, Ozcan, Bellingham (C), Brandt; Haller
CHE: Kepa (GK); Chilwell, Koulibaly, Thiago Silva (C), James; Enzo, Loftus-Cheek; Mudryk, Félix, Ziyech; Havertz
Chelsea appeared dangerous on the break, with João Félix exploiting the vast spaces in behind the Dortmund defence early on. Mykhailo Mudryk linked up nicely with the Portuguese centre-forward on numerous occasions, though Marius Wolf seemed to have the better of the Ukrainian throughout the evening. Chelsea’s right-back, Reece James, received a yellow card early on after tripping Karim Adeyemi.
Mudryk won a free kick for the visitors, after he was pulled by Sebastien Haller. Reece James’ cross was guided into the back of the net by Thiago Silva, but the Brazilian used his arm to do so – receiving a booking and giving the hosts a free-kick.
Marius Wolf had an opportunity to impress further, when Bellingham dispatched a through ball to the German down the right flank – but despite working his way past Chilwell, the right-back’s shot was sliced wide of the target.
João Félix should have opened the scoring for the visitors, after unleashing a first-time strike following a one-two with Hakim Ziyech. However, the loanee’s effort was lifted over the crossbar – and yet another chance goes begging for Chelsea – who are clearly missing the finishing touch of a proper number nine.
Félix had another chance just minutes later, this time after a one-two with Havertz. The Portuguese international found a way past Sule, and chipped his effort over Kobel – but the ball ricocheted off the crossbar!
Julian Brandt played in Marius Wolf shortly before the interval, with the right-back once again sending his effort just wide of the post. Despite an end-to-end first half that saw both sides have a flurry of chances, the game was goalless. In truth, Chelsea should have been two goals up at this stage, but João Félix’s finishing had cost the Blues massively.
Jude Bellingham received a yellow card shortly after play resumed for a harsh sliding tackle on Ben Chilwell – and this was soon followed by a booking for Emre Can, who had shoved Reece James on his way into the box. James took the resulting free-kick, which forced a fine save from Kobel to deny the Englishman’s strike nestling into the top-right corner.
Mudryk had chance to fire a shot at Kobel’s goal – but instead opted to let Enzo Fernandez strike instead, with the Argentinian’s effort trickling wide of the posts. The Ukrainian soon sent in a fine cross from the left flank, which was volleyed towards goal by Reece James. Kobel was able to tip the strike over the crossbar for a corner.
Thiago Silva couldn’t quite get his head onto the corner, and the ball fell to Guerreiro – who offloaded it to Karim Adeyemi. The young striker breezed past Enzo Fernandez to set up a 1v1 with Kepa Arrizabalaga, who he swiftly glided past before rolling the ball into an empty net. It was a sensational counter-attack from the hosts, but Chelsea will feel disheartened as they should have really been a few goals up at this stage.
Both sides began to introduce substitutions shortly afterwards. Hakim Ziyech also received a yellow card for dissent, after arguing with the ref about a foul within the box. This would soon be followed by a yellow card for Karim Adeyemi, who fouled Ziyech as the Moroccan probed forwards. The free-kick is taken by Ziyech, but pushed away well by Kobel to deny Chelsea an equaliser.
Chaos ensued in the box as Koulibaly’s effort was cleared off the line by Emre Can – falling nicely to Mason Mount, but the English midfielder wasn’t able to slot home the rebound to level the score!
Yet more bookings were dished out as the game reached the closing minutes, with Ozcan receiving a yellow card shortly before Ryerson, Sule and Mount were booked for their involvement in a scrap on the sidelines.
Enzo Fernandez forced a sensational save from Kobel in the last minute, who unleashed a curling strike towards the top-right corner after receiving the ball from Cucurella. The ‘keeper did very well to push the ball over, and the full-time whistle sparked celebrations from the infamous Yellow Wall.
Chelsea will feel that the result flatters the hosts, who took the lead through Adeyemi’s strike following a blistering counter attack. Two chances from João Félix and a last-minute strike from Enzo Fernandez could have seen Graham Potter’s side establish a comfortable lead, but instead they head into the return fixture with a one-goal deficit.