Five talking points from Chelsea 2-0 Borussia Dortmund
Graham Potter’s Chelsea reign was handed a welcome shot in the arm as the Blues overturned a first-leg deficit against Borussia Dortmund to reach the Champions League quarter-final.
Goals from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz were enough to secure a convincing 2-1 aggregate win in the last-16 clash and ease the pressure on the under-fire Blues boss.
Here are five talking points from the action at Stamford Bridge.
Potter described the performance in the first leg as a "step forward" despite losing and having overturned the tie with a convincing home victory, he will see this as an even bigger one.
Though the chances were at times hard to come by, Sterling’s opener just before the break was no less than the Blues deserved.
Havertz’s early second-half penalty ensured a narrow aggregate win and after seeing his side score more than once in a game for the first time in 2023, the 47-year-old will hope it is a sign of more to come.
Sterling has endured a frustrating start to his Chelsea career, with the ex-Manchester City player one of several Blues forwards misfiring this term.
Without a goal since New Year’s Day, the England man was finally on the scoresheet once again after powering the opener into the back of the net just before half-time.
Having initially miskicked his first effort, the 28-year-old was the most relieved man in the stadium when he finally turned it home — with Potter perhaps a close second.
Silverware still on
Even during supposedly difficult periods of the past, Chelsea have had a knack of still ending the season with a trophy, lifting silverware in six of the previous eight campaigns.
Following victory, the Blues live to fight another day in Europe’s elite competition with faint hopes of extending that record in 2022-23.
Though it would be a surprise to see them go all the way as they did under Thomas Tuchel, a deep run in the competition could buy Potter some crucial time to convince critics he is the man to deliver more triumphs for the Stamford Bridge club.
All eyes were on Jude Bellingham as he prepared to face one of several potential summer suitors but it was a quiet night for the highly coveted teenager.
Dortmund's No22 was the driving force behind BVB’s efforts to get themselves back in the game but he struggled to dictate midfield in his usual fashion against Mateo Kovacic and Enzo Fernandez in the engine room.
Things got worse for the Three Lions starlet in the second half as he somehow poked wide from close range and spurned a gilt-edged chance to bring his side level.
Injuries and new signings have seen Chelsea regularly chop and change their defence and stalwart Thiago Silva’s absence has presented Potter with yet another challenge to handle.
That is why the Solihull-born tactician will have been delighted to see his team secure a second successive clean sheet in the Brazilian’s absence.
Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana remained in the back three, with Marc Cucurella joining them as they shut out any hopes of a Dortmund resurgence late on.