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Three Observations from Dortmund’s 2-1 Loss to Manchester City

A rollercoaster of emotion with a depressing ending. The Dortmund way!

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Despite not getting the result they wanted against Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund were able to remain in the tie heading into the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal, surrendering two goals but grabbing a crucial away goal to give the club a glimmer of hope.

A strong start by the visitors went to waste when a misplaced pass from Emre Can in the 19th minute led to disaster, as Kevin De Bruyne finished the resulting counter-attack by tapping home the opening goal. Nearly 20 minutes later, controversy struck, as referee Ovidiu Hategan prevented Jude Bellingham from scoring the tying goal by blowing his whistle on a challenge won fairly by the Englishman. The black and yellows were eventually able to equalize, though, when Erling Haaland brilliantly slipped through Marco Reus, who was just able to beat the keeper. Unfortunately, Dortmund weren’t able to hold onto a draw, as De Bruyne produced a ridiculous pass that cleared the Dortmund defense and found former Dortmund man İlkay Gündogan. From there, Gündogan set up Phil Foden for the easy tap-in to score City’s second goal. The match ultimately finished 2-1 in favor of the Citizens.

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Bellingham’s Goal That Wasn’t

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to talk about this game without discussing Referee Ovidiu Hategan’s decision to blow his whistle before Jude Bellingham could score what would’ve been the equalizing goal in the 37th minute. The Englishman stole the ball cleanly from the Manchester City keeper, Ederson Moraes, but the challenge was unfairly judged to be a foul. To add even further insult, the Belgian referee also showed Bellingham a yellow card for his Phantom foul. It was the kind of mistake that will hopefully lead to better training for UEFA referees in the future, but for BVB, the blunder will have massive implications going into the tie’s second leg. Despite this, it’s important now for the squad to forget it ever happened and focus on winning next Wednesday.

Haaland’s (Almost) Quiet Night

After missing a one on one chance and being largely contained in the final third by Manchester City’s defense, tonight threatened to be an unproductive performance for Erling Haaland. That all changed when Haaland placed a near-perfect pass at Marco Reus’s feet to send him through on Ederson’s goal. The captain controlled the ball and squeezed it past the keeper’s outstretched hand to score an all-important away goal for the black and yellows.

The way Haaland can still make an impact despite having an otherwise underwhelming performance is indicative of just how much quality he has. The Norwegian was under near-constant pressure but still managed to produce a moment of class just when Dortmund needed it. Being able to deliver on your worst day is a trait that all of the greats have, and today, Haaland was able to do just that.

Manchester City’s Possession Game

As expected from a Pep Guardiola team, City had the majority of the possession on Tuesday. That said, the Citizens weren’t able to coax Dortmund into mistakes as much as they would’ve hoped. BVB’s defense, for the most part, was able to prevent City from overwhelming them with their intricate passing play. If the squad can reproduce this kind of defensive performance in the second leg, Die Schwartzgelben may be able to get the result they need.

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