5 Things Learned: Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Chelsea | Champions League
Chelsea were defeated 1-0 in the first leg of the Round of 16 in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday night.
Graham Potter made three adjustments to the Chelsea starting XI that were held to a 1-1 draw against West Ham on Saturday for this European contest.
The game started at a fast pace and it was the visitors who thought they had the advantage early on, a Reece James set-piece found Thiago Silva, but the Brazilian directed the ball into the goal with his hand which saw it quickly ruled out.
As the first half continued, both sides created high quality chances, but failed to take them, Joao Felix struck the bar for the Blues and Marius Wolf saw his effort flash across the face of goal in the closing moments.
In the second 45, it was the west London side who came out sharper, James hit a good free-kick that was pushed away by Gregor Kubel, moments later the England international had another chance but was once again denied.
Despite being largely on top to open the second half, Chelsea were caught out by a lightning-quick counter-attack led by Karim Adeyemi, who rounded Kepa Arrizabalaga and slotted home to score the first goal.
The Blues responded well, Kalidou Koulibaly saw his shot cleared off the line by Emre Can with just over ten minutes left.
Chelsea continued to push, but it was to no avail, they will now have a difficult challenge on their hands when they return to take on Dortmund in the second leg.
Here are five things Absolute Chelsea learned from Wednesday’s loss in the Champions League.
1) The Chelsea counter-attack is dangerous
Largely due to the class of Felix, the Blues looked sharp on the counter-attack. This was very noticeable in the first half, Potter’s side set up to allow the hosts to take control, but were able to quickly get up the pitch when they dispossessed them. Ultimately, Chelsea failed to make the most of these, unlike their opposition who countered clinically.
2) If Chelsea want to succeed in this competition they must bury chances
The Blues managed to get themselves into some fantastic positions going forward but failed to make the most of the opportunities they created. In the opening 45, Portuguese forward Felix had the big chances but he squandered them. He both hit the bar and had a strike that glided over. Eventually, Chelsea paid the price for missing these chances, German forward Adeyemi broke through in the second half and gave the hosts the lead. The Blues now have a tough task on their hands when they return to Stamford Bridge due to their failure to convert.
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3) Things still are not quite clicking
Coming into this contest the Blues were on a four game unbeaten streak, but they only won one of these games. The signs of improvement are there, but things just aren’t clicking. Mykhailo Mudryk struggled for regular involvement, Felix wasted chances and the goal was a poor one to concede. Good work is being done, but Chelsea were punished for not putting the ball in the net.
4) Chelsea can take positives from the performance, but results are key
Potter’s side may have put in a good performance and created openings, but this competition is entirely about results. Dortmund will take an advantage into the second leg, putting Chelsea on the back foot. The team can be given plaudits for their display, as they arguably looked the better of the two sides, but unfortunately that counts for nothing in the Champions League.
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5) This tie is not over
While Chelsea will have to fight back from behind in the second leg, they demonstrated against Dortmund that they can more than compete at this level. The Blues will know they could and probably should have got a better result, but in the reverse fixture they have the opportunity to set things right.