The black and yellow struggle with the defensive opponent for a long time – but in the end two stars make the decision in Dortmund.
A lot of patience, little shine – Borussia Dortmund has for the time being dispelled the worries of an early exit in the Champions League. In the dreary first ghost home game in the long BVB European Cup history against an extremely defensive Zenit St. Petersburg, the Bundesliga third achieved an arduous 2-0 (0-0) win. Thanks to the goals of Jadon Sancho (79./Foul penalty) and Erling Haaland (90. + 2), the Dortmunders were spared another disappointment a week after the false start at Lazio (1: 3). With another success next Wednesday at Club Bruges, BVB would be back on target.
“We often had the ball and had to play fast,” said Haaland on the pay-TV channel Sky. “We knew the opportunity would come. In the end, there are three important points.” Favre compared the visitors’ defense to “two buses in front of goal, it was very, very difficult.” Sports director Michael Zorc said: “We are satisfied because we more than deserved to win the game.”
Accordingly, BVB started against very clever guests who had also lost their first game (1: 2 against Bruges). With a back four as in the derby win against 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 only counted on the brawny striker Artjom Dzjuba. Giovanni Reyna gave Dortmund’s first warning shot from the edge of the penalty area (15th) – but there were too few of them until well into the second half.
Big trouble with the Zenit team
Haaland had a lot of trouble in the penalty area of the guests with the mostly seven to eight withdrawn Zenit professionals, who clearly obstructed the BVB combination game in the decisive areas. The 20-year-old only came to his first degree in the 42nd minute, but his deep left-footed shot just missed the goal.
Behind Haaland, Reus, Reyna and Sancho rotated a lot. “Pass faster,” said BVB coach Lucien Favre from the sidelines on the pitch. Without speed, the attentive defending guests could hardly be approached. Zenit goalkeeper Michail Kerschakow steered a Reus free kick past the goal (26th), and the goalkeeper was on the spot in the second attempt by the BVB captain from the game (39th).
The Russian master only did the bare minimum on the offensive. The clash between BVB goalkeeper Roman Bürki, who had again been given preference over Marwin Hitz, with Sebastián Driussi in the first half was the most noticeable action of coach Sergej Semak’s team (35th). The first corner kick for Zenit came in the 76th minute.
Dortmund continued to dominate the game in the second half, but BVB continued to look too slow in front of the opposing goal. The many Dortmund passes were often predictable for the guests. Favre reacted after a little over an hour and brought Thorgan Hazard in the pouring rain, who made his comeback after surviving a muscle fiber tear (67th). The Belgian fitted in well with a first shot on goal (69th). The penalty whistle from referee Björn Kuipers – brought out by Hazard – helped BVB enormously. Sancho sure transformed. Haaland made the final decision.