Dortmund (dpa) – The two young match winners hugged, grinning, their coach Lucien Favre took a deep breath. With a lot of patience, but little shine, Borussia Dortmund has for the time being dispelled the worries of an early exit in the Champions League.
In the arduous 2-0 (0-0) against an extremely defensive Zenit St. Petersburg, Jadon Sancho (79./Foul penalty) and Erling Haaland (90. + 2) were successful late. In the dreary first home game in the long BVB European Cup history, Dortmund was spared another disappointment after the false start in Rome (1: 3).
“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.” With another success on Wednesday at Club Bruges (4 points), BVB (3) would be back on target. In the parallel game, the upcoming Dortmund opponent and table leaders Lazio Rome separated 1: 1.
The dramatically increased corona numbers had only ensured that the Dortmunders had to do without fans on Wednesday morning. BVB could have used any support for this. “There was pressure on the boiler,” said Zorc. 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 to get behind the defense of the Russian double winner with quick passes, 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.
Haaland had a lot of trouble in the penalty area of the guests with the mostly seven to eight withdrawn Zenit professionals, who clearly obstructed the BVB combination game in the crucial areas.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. “Fold faster,” Favre called out from the sidelines. Without speed, the attentively 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 out of 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.