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Match Recap: A series of unfortunate events

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Defense and ref undo Dortmund

Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

“A series of unfortunate events”, that’s the best analogy I can come up with for this game. Even though the black and yellows lost today you could easily argue that they were the better team for large parts of this game. A horrible game from the entire defense except Jeremy Toljan, filled with individual mistakes put BVB on the back foot and they never really recovered. In addition a crucial mistake from referee Gianluca Rocchi at the worst possible time basically handed Tottenham the win.

A good first half with a bad result

As weird as it might sound, Dortmund didn’t actually play that bad in the first half. They controlled possession and were the better team in every facet of the game. However a leaky defense undid all of that. It started in the 4th minute when Dortmund lost possession deep in Tottenham’s half, the Spurs played some quick passes to deny Dortmund the opportunity to press and Son found himself with a clear path to the goal. The ex-Bundesliga player made Sokratis look like a fool and took advantage of a positioning mistake from Roman Bürki to give the Spurs the lead.

Nevertheless Dortmund reacted quickly, took control of the game and a quick combination yielded the deserved equalizer in the 11th minute. Andrey Yarmolenko who started the game for Dortmund scored an absolute beauty of a goal from just outside the box.

Just four minutes later the English side got the lead back with a copy of the first goal. Dortmund lost possession, Spurs countered, Bürki didn’t really cover the near post and Harry Kane took advantage. 2-1 Tottenham.

For the rest of the first half Dortmund had complete control of the game but failed to score the equalizer. Christian Pulisic did score but the goal was called offside because of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s involvement in the play.

Referee decides the game

The decisive moments of the game came between the 57th and 60th minute. Following a corner Aubameyang scored with a beautiful volley but the ref called off yet another BVB-goal. Unlike the goal in the first half this one was clearly not offside. The equalizer should have been the fresh start to the game that Dortmund needed but just minutes later the Spurs sealed the deal.

Dortmund had to risk more, moved up the pitch even higher which gave Tottenham space to exploit. A simple through ball from Eriksen left the defense in shambles, Piszczek played Kane onside and then deflected his shot to make it impossible for Bürki to save it. The 3-1 decided the game, Dortmund never really recovered and lost the game.

Where does that leave Dortmund?

This loss hurts a lot. With Real Madrid looming as the next opponent, a result would have been needed today. Nevertheless Dortmund played well, had to overcome a plethora of injuries, baffling individual mistakes and puzzling decisions from the referee. Peter Bosz has to fix the deficiencies on defense in order to be able to compete in the Champions League or the black and yellows might find themselves in the Europa League come January.