Dortmund (dpa) – The two young match winners hugged each other with a grin, their coach Lucien Favre took a deep breath. With a lot of patience, but little shine, Borussia Dortmund has for the time being allayed the concerns of an early exit in the Champions League.
In the difficult 2-0 (0-0) against an extremely defensive Zenit St. Petersburg, Jadon Sancho (79./fault penalty) and Erling Haaland (90. + 2) were successful late. In the gloomy first home game in the long history of the BVB European Cup, Dortmund was spared another disappointment after the false start in Rome (1: 3).
“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.” With another success on Wednesday in Club Brugge (4 points), BVB (3) would be back on schedule. In the parallel match, the upcoming Dortmund opponent and table leaders Lazio separate Rome 1: 1.
The dramatically increased corona figures had only ensured that the Dortmunders had to do without fans on Wednesday morning. BVB could have used any support. “The kettle was under pressure,” said Zorc. 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.
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 only got his first shot in the 42nd minute, but his deep left foot shot missed the target.
Reus, Reyna and Sancho played a lot behind Haaland. “Fold faster,” Favre called from the sidelines. Without speed, the attentive defending guests could hardly be reached. Zenit goalkeeper Michail Kerschakow sent a Reus free kick past the goal (26th), and the goalkeeper was on the spot 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.