Borussia Dortmund got back on track with a 4-2 victory away to Zenit St Petersburg in the first leg of their last-16 clash in the Champions League.
Both first half goals came in the opening few minutes as Dortmund blitzed their lacklustre opponents, who performed dreadfully.
In the fourth minute, Marco Reus picked up the ball on the inside right, stood up well to initial challenges to get to the box, and fell under the pressure of a defender. The ball rolled left for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who dragged the ball into the far corner.
Two minutes later, and Reus had a goal of his own. Nuri Sahin found the Germany international in space, and he drove a fierce shot in past the near post.
Zenit pulled one back on 57 minutes. Receiving the ball in an offside position, Salomon Rondon missed his first chance, missed the ball on the second attempt, and then hit the post with his third. The ball came out to Oleg Shatov who found space between the bodies on the line to score.
Four minutes later, Lewandowski restored the two-goal cushion for Dortmund, taking two touches to dispatch a return pass from Lukasz Piszczek.
On 69 minutes, Hulk converted a penalty brilliantly after Piszczek blocked off Viktor Fayzulin’s run, but Lewandowski took 90 seconds to respond, finishing with a low shot across Yuri Lodygin. Dortmund can be confident of progressing to the next round.
4’ - MKHITARYAN GOAL: Reus stands up well to two defenders, and as he stumbles the ball finds the Armenian forward in space, who puts Dortmund into the lead.
5’ - REUS SCORES: Sahin tees up Reus to slam the ball past Lodygin at the near post.
15’ - ARSHAVIN INJURY: Andrey Arshavin pulls his hamstring chasing a ball on the left wing, and is replaced by Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.
29’ - LEWANDOWSKI CHANCE: Reus curls in a free kick from the left, and Robert Lewandowski misses the ball with his head, the ball looping over both the keeper and the bar as it strikes his shoulder.
57’ - SHATOV GOAL: Rondon hits the post with his third attempt, and the ball bounces out to Shatov, lurking in the box, and he drives the ball between the defenders guarding the goal.
61’ - LEWANDOWSKI SCORES: Getting the return pass from Piszczek on the right, Lewandowski controls the ball with one touch, and pokes the ball past the keeper with his second.
69’ - HULK PENALTY: After Piszczek brings down Fayzulin in the box, Hulk blasts the penalty against the crossbar and in.
71’ - LEWANDOWSKI’S SECOND: Reus advances on goal, slides the ball right for Lewandowski, who fires the ball across the keeper and into the goal.
Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten in their five encounters with Russian teams, in all competitions (4 wins, 1 draw). They’ve won all their away games.
Zenit St Petersburg have only won one game in the Champions League this season.
Dortmund have only kept one clean sheet in their last 11 Champions League games (3-0 win v Marseille at home this season).
Dortmund have scored five goals in the last 15 minutes of games, the most in this season’s Champions League campaign.
Will this victory give Dortmund the chance to get their season back on track? Having lost 3-0 to Hamburg on Saturday, the Champions League is now Dortmund’s best chance of silverware. If they can get players back from injury, they can be one of the teams capable of winning in May.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marco Reus (Dortmund): Creator of two, and scorer of another, there is no other option than to give him the man of the match. In truth neither side played especially well, but he was at the heart of the victory for the Germans.
Zenit: Lodygin 6, Anyukov 6, Lombaerts 5, Neto 5, Criscito 5, Witsel 4, Shatov 5, Fayzulin 6, Arshavin 5, Hulk 5, Rondon 5. Subs: Smolnikov 6, Tymoshchuk 5, Kerzhakov 6.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller 6, Piszczek 7, Friedrich 6, Sokratis 6, Schmelzer 6, Kehl 6, Sahin 6, Grosskreutz 7, Mkhitaryan 7, Reus 8, Lewandowski 7. Subs: Durm 6, Hofmann 6, Aubameyang 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET