Different competition, same frustrating result.
Dortmund returned to Champions League action, but couldn’t return to their winning ways as they lost 1-0 to Benfica in Lisbon. BVB dominated the match and had plenty of chances, but somehow never got that away goal.
The loss means that Thomas Tuchel’s team have now only won 2 of their last 10 games in all competitions. The frustration around the club is palpable, especially after a result like this that really should have been a victory.
xG map for Benfica - BVB. Dortmund somehow score zero goals from a penalty and three other clear chances from the center of the box. pic.twitter.com/IvGSUAH9lS— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 14, 2017
It was a thrilling encounter for the neutral, but an agonizing one for BVB fans. It will undoubtedly be remembered as one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s worst matches in a Dortmund shirt.
The hectic start was representative of how the whole match would play out. Benfica came out and threatened early, before eventually submitting to Dortmund’s domination of possession. Julian Weigl showed his quality, as he set the tempo of the match.
The best chance for the visitors in the first frame fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and you certainly would’ve expected him to score it. Dembele set him up via a perfectly weighted through-ball, but Auba’s shot went over the bar.
Benfica repeatedly put themselves under pressure by giving the ball away in dangerous areas. BVB will regret that they were unable to properly punish these mistakes.
The home side began the second half with a thoroughly different attitude. They pressed high, and had a corner just seconds into the half.
A minute later they had another corner, this one with devastating consequences for Dortmund. Luisão headed the ball towards goal, and Kostas Mitroglou was on hand to stab home in front of Burki. It was Benfica’s first shot on target of the match.
BVB had a chance to respond almost immediately, but Aubameyang couldn’t convert from close range. It was a surprise that the ball reached him, but the pressure of Ederson coming off his line forced Auba to put the ball just over the net.
Then, things somehow got worse for PEA. Dortmund were given a penalty in the 57th minute, as Marc Bartra danced into the box and knocked the ball off a Benfica hand. Aubameyang stepped up, having already missed a couple major chances, and he hit the penalty directly at Ederson. It was an atrocious effort that was easily saved.
A few minutes later, Thomas Tuchel angrily took Aubameyang off for Schurrle. For someone who talks so much about a transfer to a bigger side, PEA really needs to start performing in these key situations in big games.
Dortmund chased the game for the rest of the second half, and it begs belief that they were unable to score. Only the heroics of Ederson and Luisão kept them at bay.
Christian Pulisic made a notable impact after coming on as a substitute. He earned a free kick almost immediately. The kick eventually fell for Pulisic at the top of the box, and he attempted a volley. He struck it sweetly, and the shot even deflected off a Benfica defender. But Ederson was up to the task. He reacted to the deflection and made a world class save.
At that point, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be Dortmund’s night. They kept up the pressure, but could not get an important away goal.
Despite the frustrating defeat, all is certainly still to play for in the second leg. Other than their finishing, Dortmund played really well today in a tough road environment. Hopefully they can set things right at the Westfalenstadion on March 8th.