There was a football match today, despite most of the focus still being on the attacks of yesterday. But according to UEFA, the game had to go on.
Dortmund initially looked sloppy and unfocused, as they lost 3-2 to Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie.
But who can blame them? They were forced to play not even 24-hours removed from what police called “a targeted attack on Dortmund.”
Emotionally, it was always going to be a tough ask. But on top of that, BVB would have to play without one of their best defenders, Marc Bartra, who was injured in the attack.
This meant that Sven Bender made his first appearance for four months, as he lined up in central defense alongside Sokratis and Piszczek. It was a back-three, with the two wing backs being Schmelzer and Ginter. There was a spot on the bench for Christian Pulisic, with Guerreiro, Weigl and Kagawa starting in midfield.
The starting lineup didn’t really work.
The first notable bit of action came in the 16th minute. Kylian Mbappe ran into the box, and went down with barely any contact made by Sokratis. The Westfalenstadion raged as the referee pointed to the spot. But justice was served when Fabinho put the penalty wide of Burki’s goal.
The relief was short-lived, as Dortmund conceded just a few moments later. Thomas Lemar received the ball on a counter-attack, and his cross bounced off Mbappe and into the net. 1-0 and a crucial away goal for the visitors, but replays showed it was clearly offside.
Mbappe was clearly offside on his goal. Referee is already having a shocker. pic.twitter.com/lTjBfrgt55— Alex Greenberg (@AGreenberg22) April 12, 2017
BVB almost responded on 28 minutes. Ginter made good progress down the right, and squared one perfectly for Kagawa. But Shinji fluffed his lines, and dragged the shot wide. It was the home side’s best chance of the first half.
They were made to pay just a few minutes later. Raggi whipped in a dangerous cross, and Sven Bender ended up heading it in for an own goal.
The BVB fans were shocked, as their team went into halftime down 2-0 and looking significantly out-of-it.
Tuchel made two subs at halftime. Pulisic came on for Bender, and Nuri Sahin came on for Schmelzer. The changes allowed Dortmund to respond well in the second half.
Pulisic was instantly creating danger down the right side, and eventually Dortmund found a breakthrough.
Ousmane Dembele pulled one back in the 57th minute after some great team-play. Kagawa got the assist, allowing Dembele to tap-in, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played a key part in the move with an intelligent back-heel flick.
What a beautiful goal.
Dortmund continued to push for an equalizer, but it never came.
Instead, they were pegged back again in the 79th minute. Lukasz Piszczek left Sokratis a bit short with a back pass, and Mbappe stole in to intercept. He ran in on goal unopposed, and finished nicely past Burki. It was a back-breaking third away goal.
Shinji Kagawa did his best to keep hope alive just a few minutes later. Sahin got a cross in to him, and he managed to beat two Monaco defenders to the ball. He took a couple touches, and finished calmly past Subasic. Gotta love Kagawa, the man never gives up.
Dortmund had penalty appeals waved away by the referee in the final moments of the match. Aubameyang had a header go just over the bar, but it appeared that he was significantly being pulled back as he went up for the header. On another night, the referee might have pointed to the spot.
It was a tale of two halves for BVB. The lineup in the first half clearly didn’t work, but Tuchel deserves some credit for recognizing that and changing things for the second frame.
But still, the damage had been done.
The tie is not over yet, but recovering from three away goals is very difficult. Dortmund will need to be much better defensively in Monaco next week, if they’re to have any chance of progressing to the Semifinals.