Skien - Borussia Dortmund survived an early scare to put themselves in pole position to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage after a 4-3 win away to Norwegian side Odd BK in the first leg of their play-off tie.
Unaccustomed to playing on an artificial pitch rather than grass, Thomas Tuchel’s men were out of sorts in the opening period and went 3-0 down within the first 22 minutes, as Jone Samuelsen, Fredrik Nordkvelle and Espen Ruud gave the hosts the perfect start. Shinji Kagawa and Henrikh Mkhitarayn each hit the woodwork for BVB in the first half, but it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who found the net to give the visitors a glimmer of hope going into the half-time break..
Dortmund pushed forward relentlessly in the second period and when Kagawa reduced the deficit even further in the 47th minute, the guests smelled blood. Their pressure eventually paid dividends when two late goals from Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan turned the tie on its head and put BVB in the driving seat to qualify for the Europa League proper.
Man of the match
In the absence of Marco Reus, who was rested for this fixture, Mkhitaryan once again willingly shouldered the mantle of tormentor-in-chief. The Armenian continued his outstanding early season form and probed the home team’s backline throughout, and his excellent strike took his goalscoring tally in competitive games so far this term to seven in five outings. On this form, he looks unplayable.
Was it the pitch or did an element of complacency creep into Dortmund’s game following their 4-0 dismantling of Champions League participants Borussia Mönchengladbach at the weekend? Perhaps it was a bit of both, but whatever the reason BVB showed extraordinary character to fight back and cancel out their sluggish opening.
Stats of the match
- Of the 12,436 spectators in the stadium in Norway, approximately 2,000 of them were Dortmund fans who had made the long trip north.
- Ilkay Gündogan was the only player on the pitch to go into triple digits in terms of touches of the ball (108).
- Dortmund had 22 shots on goal compared to Odd’s five – of which the hosts scored an incredible three times!
Quote of the match
Mats Hummels: “The first goal we conceded was a joke. It was much too easy for them. Things like that shouldn’t happen to us.”
Odd: Rossbach – Ruud, Bergan, Grögaard, Haagen – Samuelsen (Berg 58’), Jensen, Nordkvelle – Bentley (Halvorsen 65’), Occean (Flo 78’), Zekhnini
Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Castro (Sokratis 46’), Ginter, Hummels, Schmelzer – Gündogan, Bender (Weigl 68’) – Kampl (Ramos 64’), Kagawa, Mkhitaryan – Aubameyang
Goals: 1-0 (Samulesen 1’), 2-0 (Nordkvelle 19’), 3-0 (Ruud 22’), 3-1 (Aubameyang 34’), 3-2 (Kagawa 47'), 3-3 (Aubameyang 76'), 3-4 (Mkhitaryan 84')