Amsterdam - Borussia Dortmund secured their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a game to spare, easing to a 4-1 victory over AFC Ajax in their Group D meeting in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening.

First-half goals from Marco Reus, Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski effectively killed off the match as a contest before the interval against an Ajax side who had gone into it with a record of twelve wins in 13 European home games against Bundesliga opposition down the years. Lewandowski bagged another midway through the second half to round things out, with Manchester City's leveller against Real Madrid putting the icing on the cake. The two results together leave Dortmund already guaranteed top spot in this year's putative "Group of death.“

First chance, first goal


The first sniff of goal fell Ajax's way in the second minute, with Roman Weidenfeller forced to tip Daley Blind's dipping cross from the left over the bar. The next chance was at the other end, and altogether more penetrating. In the 8th minute, Reus freed up Götze down the right and he returned the favour with a beautifully-weighted ball into the box that Reus clinically dispatched past home keeper Kenneth Vermeer. It was a perfectly executed counter-attack, and the German champs were off to the ideal start.

Ajax steadied their nerves in the wake of the early setback and gradually worked their way into the contest as the first half unfolded. Shortly after the midway point, with the hosts as yet unable to seriously trouble Weidenfeller, BVB nearly caught them out on the break again. This time it was a solo effort from Götze, who ran half the length of the pitch and expertly slipped his marker only for the ball to bobble away at the vital moment.

Two more before the break


The men from the Ruhr district were sitting much deeper than is their wont and their opponents were struggling to put their greater share of the possession to any good effect. Instead, with nine minutes of the first half to go, Borussia doubled their advantage with another rapier thrust. Mats Hummels curled a fine pass into the right-hand channel for Götze, who cut inside and planted the ball into the net at the near post.

Starting to look distinctly ragged now, the hosts promptly conceded a third goal and once again Götze was the instigator, Vermeer fumbling his volley from outside the box in the convenient direction of Lewandowski, who was left with the simplest of finishes. The Yellow-Blacks were in full flow now and the half-time whistle seemed to come not a moment too soon for the men in red and white.

All over already


Ajax made a more positive start to the second 45 and six minutes in, Christian Eriksen came off second-best in a one-on-one inside the box with Weidenfeller. After that though, it was more of the same, Dortmund lying deep and the home side failing to make significant inroads on them. With 67 minutes on the clock, BVB momentarily moved up a gear and promptly pulled another goal out of the hat.

This time it was a break down the left, Götze taking a return pass from Kevin Großkreutz and floating in a cross that Lewandowski controlled before rounding the over-exposed Vermeer and slotting home from a tight angle. Another good save from Weidenfeller denied one sub, Viktor Fischer, a consolation strike in the 78th minute. Another, Danny Hoesen, did then find the net for the Dutch record champs with four minutes remaining, his shot helped on its way into the net by Neven Subotic's deflection. Weidenfeller prevented Jody Lukoki pulling another one back as the clock ticked down, and that was that.

Line-ups

Ajax: Vermeer - van Rihjn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind - Poulsen (Schöne 46') – Enoh (Hoesen 63'), Eriksen - Lukoki, de Jong, Boerrigter (Fischer 73')

Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Bender, Gündogan – Götze (Blaszczykowski 70'), Reus (Schieber 79'), Großkreutz - Lewandowski

Goals: 0-1 Reus (8'), 0-2 Götze (36'), 0-3 Lewandowski (41'), 0-4 Lewandowski (67'), 1-4 Hoesen (86')