Borussia Dortmund finished second in UEFA Europa League Group C after losing 1-0 to PAOK in their final group stage encounter.
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 PAOK
Goals: 0-1 Mak (33’)
Although already assured of their place in the last 32, Dortmund needed to better FK Krasnodar’s result to progress as group winners. Shinji Kagawa struck the outside of the post and Matthias Ginter fired over in the early stages, but with news coming in of a goal for Krasnodar in Qäbälä, BVB captain Mats Hummels switched off to let in former 1. FC Nürnberg striker Robert Mak for the opening goal.
The second-half introduction of Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave Dortmund fresh impetus, the Arminian live-wire testing PAOK goalkeeper Panogiotis Glykos within two minutes of the restart. The visiting goal was leading a charmed existence as Kagawa and Ginter went close, before BVB substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed against the upright. BVB huffed and puffed, but PAOK held on to, in theory, hand Thomas Tuchel’s side a more difficult tie in the next round.
Man of the match
Mkhitaryan provided the creative spark Dortmund were so dearly lacking in the first half and will be key to their hopes of going deep into the competition in the new year.
You can see why Tuchel opted to give a selection of fringe players a run-out, but in this instance the move did not go according to plan. Expect to see a full-strength Dortmund side at all times in the knockout rounds.
- Dortmund failed to score for only the second time in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel.
- It was BVB’s first home defeat since losing to VfL Wolfsburg last May.
- The draw for the Round of 32 takes place in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Ginter, Subotic, Hummels (c), Park - S. Bender (Weigl 46’) - Stenzel, Kagawa (Aubameyang 66’) - Januzaj, Reus (Mkhitaryan 46’) - Ramos
PAOK: Glykos - Skondras, Malezas, Tzavellas - Konstantinidis, Mystakidis (Garry Rodrigues 77’) - Kace, Tziolis (c), Cimirot - Berbatov (Sabo 71’), Mak (Leovac 66’)