The black and yellow struggle with the defensive opponent for a long time – but in the end two stars make the decision in Dortmund.
Lots of patience, little shine – Borussia Dortmund has allayed worries about an early exit from the Champions League for the time being. In the gloomy first haunted home game in the long BVB European Cup history against an extremely defensive Zenit St. Petersburg, the third Bundesliga achieved a difficult 2-0 (0-0) success. Thanks to the goals of Jadon Sancho (79./foul penalty) and Erling Haaland (90. + 2), the Dortmund team was spared another disappointment a week after the false start at Lazio (1: 3). With another success next Wednesday at Club Brugge, BVB would be back on schedule.
“We often had the ball and had to play quickly,” Haaland said on the pay-TV channel Sky. “We knew the opportunity was coming. Ultimately, there are three important points.” Favre compared the visitors’ defense to “two buses in front of the goal, it was very, very difficult”. Sports director Michael Zorc said: “We are satisfied because we have more than deserved to win the race.”
For example, BVB started against very smart guys who also lost their first match (1: 2 against Bruges). With a back four as in the derby win over Schalke and captain Marco Reus in the starting eleven, Dortmund tried with quick passes to get behind the defense of the Russian double winner, who was low and initially relied solely on muscular striker Artjom Dzjuba. Giovanni Reyna gave Dortmund the first warning shot from the edge of the penalty area (15th) – but there were too few well into the second half.
Big problems with the Zenit team
Haaland struggled with the usually seven to eight retired Zenit professionals in the guests’ penalty area, who clearly stood in the way of BVB combination play in the decisive areas. The 20-year-old did not reach his first degree until the 42nd minute, but his deep left foot shot missed the mark.
Reus, Reyna and Sancho played a lot behind Haaland. “Pass faster,” said BVB coach Lucien Favre from the sidelines. Without speed, the attentive defensive guests could hardly be approached. Zenit goalkeeper Michail Kerschakow sent a free kick from Reus past the goal (26th), and the goalkeeper was also there on the BVB captain’s second attempt in the match (39th).
The Russian master did only the bare minimum on the offensive. The clash between BVB goalkeeper Roman Bürki, who had once again been preferred over Marwin Hitz, with Sebastián Driussi in the first half was the most notable move by coach Sergej Semak’s team (35th). The first corner for Zenit came in the 76th minute.
Dortmund continued to dominate the game in the second half, but BVB continued to look too slow for the opponent’s goal. Dortmund’s many passes were often predictable for the guests. Favre responded after just over an hour, putting Thorgan Hazard in the pouring rain, who made his comeback after surviving a muscle fiber tear (67th). The Belgian adapted well with a first shot on goal (69th). Referee Björn Kuipers’ penalty – released by Hazard – has helped BVB enormously. Sancho has certainly been transformed. Haaland made the final decision.