By Ultan Corcoran @UltanCorcoran
A lot had changed ahead of tonight’s highly anticipated clash between Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla in Group G. One week on from the 1-4 demolition job Dortmund dealt the Spanish outfit, a fresh-faced Jorge Sampaoli graced the ‘Rojiblanco’ dugout. Former coach Lopetegui sacked not long after the heavy midweek defeat. Meanwhile Terzic’s side, still without skipper Marco Reus, came into this game with wind in their sails following a dramatic late draw with Bayern last Saturday. BVB knew a win tonight would secure progression to the knock-out rounds of the Champions League, but were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw on the night.
|Jude Bellingham.||Photo: Borussia Dortmund|
There was some early cause for joy from a Dortmund perspective as the game got underway. First choice goalkeeper Gregor Kobel returned to goal tendering duties after recovering from muscular injuries. Highly rated 17-year-old Tom Rothe also afforded a start. It was evident from the get-go that this was a less porous and more settled Sevilla side. Former Schalke man Ivan Rakitić fired over when presented with the best scoring opportunity after ten minutes of action. Sevilla then took the lead through the head of Tanguy Nianzou. The ex-Bayern defender met Rakitic’s delivery perfectly to stun the hosts on 18 minutes.
Dortmund desperately lacked the creative minerals to conjure up a chance in the first half. Well over thirty minutes had elapsed as the home team failed to muster a single shot on goal. No sooner said, Dortmund made it 1-1 as flowing move found Meunier who crossed for Bellingham. The Englishman’s effort deflected off Sevilla’s scorer Nianzou to wrongfoot Bounou in goal. Level at the break as Dortmund undoubtedly finished the half looking much improved.
The experienced Raphaël Guerreiro was brought on for Rothe who endured a tough night up against Suso. An unlikely volley from Süle tested Bounou as Dortmund continued where they left off before the interval. Sevilla made alterations of their own near the hour mark – Isco and former BVB loanee Adnan Januzaj were introduced. The aforesaid Januzaj could have restored the Spanish outfits lead but the Belgian blazed over. Kobel came to his side’s rescue minutes later with a top tier save on Lamela who really ought to have scored. The Argentine left kicking the post in frustration.
With twenty minutes left Telles replaced Acuña for the visitors, while Hazard and Reyna entered the fray in place of Malen and Adeyemi. The game entered a bit of a nervous lull as the clock approached 80 minutes. Hummels’ header from a Hazard corner clearing the crossbar. Salih Özcan received a late booking for a poorly timed challenge on Nianzou – the card will rule him out of the clash with Manchester City in a fortnights time. Aside from Reyna’s flashed effort across goal, the game petered out for a draw. Dortmund remain 5 points clear of both Sevilla and Copenhagen with two fixtures remaining.