Stalemate for Club at Dortmund
A fine result for Club Brugge in the Champions League, keeping Borussia Dortmund stuck at a goalless draw at the Signal Iduna. The German scoring machine had all the trouble in the world trying to breach the Blauw-Zwart defensive organisation. With Monaco losing at Atlético Madrid, Club is now sure of its place in the Europa League Round of 32.
Three personnel changes in Ivan Leko's line-up when compared to the game on Friday against Zulte Waregem. Stefano Denswil reclaimed his starting spot at the expense of Saulo Decarli. On the left, Emmanuel Dennis had the mission to push Dortmund back. Leko had one big card up his sleeve in Sofyan Amrabat in only his second start after the Belgian Cup débacle at Deinze. The two latter changes meant Mats Rits and Siebe Schrijvers had to settle for a place on the bench.
From the start, ball possession was for Dortmund, forcing Club to set up a solid organisation. Ten minutes played, the German offensive intentions lead to a fine chance for the man scoring the only goal at Jan Breydel, Pulišić, but Horvath managed to paw away his compatriot's effort from close range. The visitors kept it tight in the back, trying to lure on the break, but passing was not accurate enough to cause distress to the home side. Halfway through the first half, Amrabat managed to push on, but the Dutchman's shot went wide.
Blauw-Zwart found its way into the game bit by bit, but that's when the Germans came close to scoring: an excellent Mechele cleared a fine Pulišić cross, and put eye-to-eye with Horvath, Reus aimed the ball at the wrong side of the post. A great chance indeed. Moments before half-time, Guerreiro was unable to capitalise on a left wing cross, allowing Club to head for the dressing rooms 0-0.
After the break, the Germans tried gearing up. A focused Horvath got his hands on an Alcácer shot, while Mechele came close to deviating Reus' cross into his own nets. A very secure Club was unable to create danger at that point, with Dortmund passing the ball round, unable to find a loophole in the Club defense.
Upon the hour mark, Pulišić started a dribble inside the box, only to see his attempt meet with a Bruges body part. With Dortmund camping out on Club's side of the pitch, plenty of space remained in the back of the home defense. Blauw-Zwart had already fallen short of making the most of that space, but with fifteen minutes to play, Club finally had that one great chance to score. Wesley was unable to fire at goal, but the ball ended up with Dennis, who went past one man and aimed for the first post, only to see it go just wide.
The end of the game was undeniably tense, with the visitors trying to hold on to an unhoped point. Alcácer kept trying to find that one escape, but his shot went high over. On the other side of the pitch, a fine attack ended up with Vanaken, but Club's midfielder aimed too high as he fired at once. Club's defense remained unscathed, keeping a deserved clean sheet. With AS Monaco suffering defeat at Atlético Madrid, Club Brugge is now sure of third place in Group A, earning them a spot in the draw of the Europa League Round of 32.
Champions League: Group A - Match Day 5
Audience: 66,099 – Signal Iduna Park
Ref: Gediminas Mažeika (Lit)
Borussia Dortmund: Roman Bürki – Łukasz Piszczek, Manuel Akanji, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Abdou Diallo (80’ Achraf Hakimi) – Axel Witsel (90’ Thomas Delaney), Mahmoud Dahoud – Christian Pulišić, Marco Reus, Raphaël Guerreiro (74’ Jadon Sancho) - Paco Alcácer. Coach: Lucien Favre.
Club Brugge: Ethan Horvath – Clinton Mata, Benoît Poulain, Brandon Mechele, Stefano Denswil – Ruud Vormer (92’ Saulo Decarli), Sofyan Amrabat, Marvelous Nakamba, Emmanuel Dennis (76’ Mats Rits) – Hans Vanaken, Wesley Moraes (92’ Loïs Openda). Bank: Karlo Letica, Kaveh Rezaei, Matej Mitrović and Siebe Schrijvers. Coach: Ivan Leko.
Yellow: Denswil, Alcácer.
Tekst: Steven Floin