Borussia Dortmund win the group of death as Kevin Großkreutz scores a dramatic late winner against Marseille.
The group of death lived up to its billing as it provided a thrilling finale. Marseille have been the whipping boys of this group and finished with the poorest record in this year’s Champions League. Napoli on the other hand became the only team in the history of this competition to be knocked out of the groups stages despite having 12 points from six matches.
Borussia Dortmund knew while heading into this game that they needed a win against Marseille in order to qualify to the next round and they started the match brightly. Robert Lewandowski provided them the lead in the 4th minute of the game. Erik Durm’s ball over the top of the Marseille defence was controlled and slotted home by the Polish international.
But Marseille didn’t go down easily with a fight though and equalized just 10 minutes into game. Dimitri Payet won a free-kick on the left wing and delivered a good ball into the box. Saber Khalifa won the initial header, but the ball hit the crossbar. The rebound fell kindly for Souleymane Diawara, who was free in front of the goal. The defender headed the ball into the empty from close range. But things went downhill for the home side from that point as Dimitri Payet received two yellow cards in space of two minutes and Marseille were down to 10-men.
Dortmund continued to dominate possession in the second half with their numerical advantage, but failed to score the important goal. With news of Napoli winning against Arsenal arriving at the stadium, Dortmund were on the verge of being knocked out of the group stages. But Kevin Großkreutz saved the day for the German side. The 25-year-old shot from inside the box, after been set up by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, somehow managed to beat Steve Mandanda at the near post. That proved to be the winner and ensured Dortmund’s progress into the next round at the cost of Napoli, who crashed out despite defeat Arsenal by two goals.
Jurgen Klopp was delighted with the result of the game the fact that they managed to win this tough group, but he was disappointed about the fact that his team missed so many chances, specially in the second half.
“Basically we did everything right today and in the end we still got so many things wrong. It was incredible how many chances we created against unbelievably compact opponents who also defended with passion. But it was even more incredible how we managed to miss those opportunities. We twice had a situation where someone failed to kick the ball when it was already on the goal line and [Robert] Lewandowski also managed miss an open goal. In the end we required a scrambled shot by Kevin Grosskreutz – but it’s a great feeling.
“We had a lot of problems before this match and this was a difficult and intense game. Marseille fought for their pride. They didn’t have any weapons but still managed to score. Of course we still believed we could win the match because we got into their box about every 30 seconds. At some point the ball just had to go in. The lads put in a great effort today and were completely focused. They outdid themselves because there was a lot of pressure on us.” – The Borussia Dortmund manager told the press.