x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Champions League: Borussia Dortmund cruise into quarter finals for first time in 15 years

Juergen Klopp announced his side's Champions League campaign had gone 'like clockwork' as a comfortable 3-0 win in Germany saw them through against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Borussia Dortmund's Mario Goetze celebrates after scoring his side's second against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Goetze celebrates after scoring his side's second against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Borussia Dortmund 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 0
(Dortmund win 5-2 on aggregate)

Dortmund: Felipe Santana 31', Goetze 37', Blaszczykowski 59'

Juergen Klopp admitted Borussia Dortmund's Champions League campaign has gone 'like clockwork' after the German champions brushed aside Shakhtar Donetsk to book their place in the quarter finals.

Dortmund's convincing 3-0 win at the Westfalenstadion came after their 2-2 draw in Ukraine, putting them into the last-eight for the first time in 15 years - when they lost as defending champions.

A delighted Klopp admitted afterwards that he could not have asked for more from his players.

"This is an unusual moment for us," he said.

"The whole Champions League season has been going so well for us. For 80 minutes we offered a superb game apart from a short spell after the break.

"There are still lots of strong teams in the competition. We are just delighted with the result and I am proud of the team.

"This is an exceptional performance, the whole Champions League campaign has gone like clockwork and this was an unbelievable 90 minutes from us."

On the eve of the match Mircea Lucescu, the Shakhtar coach, boldly predicted the winner of this tie would reach the final in Wembley on May 25 and Dortmund gave his statement some credibility with an impressive performance to claim their fourth straight home win in Europe this season.

Mats Hummels, who scored the late equaliser in Donetsk, missed his third straight match with flu, but Brazilian centre back Santana proved to be an able deputy.

The hosts started to get the upper hand early on with Goetze and defensive midfielder Ilkay Gundogan at the heart of several attacks, when only the final shot was missing for a Dortmund goal.

It came soon enough when Santana's bullet header on 31 minutes more than made up for his shaky performances in the last two games, powering home Goetze's cross to claim his first goal since January.

The second followed six minutes later when Goetze added a touch of magic to a Robert Lewandowski cross and used his heel to flick the ball into the far corner, with Donetsk keeper Andriy Pyatov stranded in the middle of his goal, to make it 2-0 at the break.

With their Champions League survival in the balance, Shakhtar came out fighting for the second half with Brazil's Douglas Costa, on for compatriot Taison on the right wing, and Alex Texeira both going close.

But the game was effectively decided when Blaszczykowski profited after Pyatov parried Gundogan's fierce drive, but the ball fell at the Poland captain's feet and he dutifully tucked it away on 59 minutes.

Several Shakhtar defenders slumped on the turf and Pyatov was left prostrate while Dortmund celebrated at the left corner by mobbing the Polish goalscorer.

To their credit, Donetsk responded by pressing the Dortmund defence.

Roman Weidenfeller, the Dortmund captain, had to make a full-stretch save to block a fierce Yaroslav Rakitskiy drive from close range on 77 minutes, while Marco Reus squandered a clear chance at the other end in the final ten minutes.

Oleksandr Kucher admitted afterwards that Dortmund had exposed his side's frailty from set pieces.

"Set pieces are a real headache for us," he said.

"We again conceded a goal after a corner kick. It was hard to fight in the air with these strong Dortmund players."

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