Borussia Dortmund wrapped up their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a game to spare by drawing 1-1 (1-0) with Lazio on Matchday 5. The stalemate means that the winner of the group will not be determined until next Tuesday, when Borussia visit St. Petersburg and the Italians play host to FC Brugge.
Boris Rupert reporting
It was an intense match in which both teams played entertaining football. Borussia took the lead via Guerreiro on 44 minutes and played well for long spells, but were pegged back in the 67th minute when Immobile scored from the spot and ultimately hung on for a 1-1 draw against a Lazio side in the ascendancy after Hummels went off injured.
After suffering an opening-day defeat in Rome, BVB won all three of their matches without conceding a single goal and sat atop the group with nine points. Lazio occupied second place with eight, while Brugge had four. Zenit, who were already eliminated, only had one point on the board prior to this round of fixtures.
Borussia were without Haaland (fibre tear sustained in the final training session), Can (foot) and Meunier (calf), while Reinier (Covid-19) and Schmelzer (rehab) were out too. Zagadou made the squad for the first time this term. There were seven changes from the game in Cologne, with Piszczek, Morey, Bellingham, Delaney, Guerreiro, Hazard and Reyna all back in the starting XI.
Both teams opted for a three-man defensive set-up, but their respective formations differed further up the pitch. While Lazio lined up in a 3-5-2 system with two nominal strikers, Dortmund took to the field in a 3-4-3 formation with Reus and Hazard taking it in turns to play the central role in a front three completed by Reyna.
The match & analysis:
The Black & Yellows quickly settled into their groove against their high-pressing opponents and used the space they were afforded to combine with each other. Bellingham, who was positioned some way ahead of Delaney when the hosts had possession of the ball, looked especially lively. But clear chances were initially few and far between. Piszczek came agonisingly close following a corner in the second minute, while a Lazio defender got a foot in the way to stop Morey's cross reaching Reus in the 10th minute and Hazard opted to pass rather than shoot from a promising position in the box (21). At the other end, Lazio looked threatening. Despite having little space to operate, Immobile played the ball into the path of his strike partner Correa whose shot was blocked by Bürki (19).
BVB repeatedly applied pressure against their very physically robust and quick-thinking opponents – but they were hit on the counter for a second time in the 29th minute. Acerbi almost got on the end of a cross but he was offside anyway.
The best chance to take the lead came exactly on the half-hour mark. Reus fed Hazard, whose powerful strike from 16 metres was parried by Reina into the path of Reus, whose shot from a tight angle whistled narrowly wide of the goal. It was a shame as Reus was having a really good game.
Lazio enjoyed several positive spells but Dortmund held their own – and managed to break the deadlock seconds before the interval. Reina was forced into making a long clearance that Delaney intercepted on the halfway line. Guerreiro, Reyna and Hazard all linked up before the ball was played back to the Portugal international to slot home (44). It was the seventh time he has scored for BVB in 29 Champions League appearances.
Lazio came racing out of the traps after the break. Acerbi repeatedly pushed forward from his position in the back three and that opened up (more) room for the hosts, with Reyna forcing Reina into a save following a 49th-minute counter. At the other end, Bürki intervened to deny Immobile on 61 minutes.
Guerreiro, who was recently sidelined with a muscle tear, came off on the hour mark. Schulz came on in his stead – and conceded a penalty. Referee Lahoz initially waved play on after an incident involving Milinkovic-Savic, who was already going to ground before contact was made, but then pointed to the spot after receiving word from his colleagues in the VAR booth. Immobile slotted into the bottom corner to make it 1-1 (67). Schulz almost redeemed himself by making it 2-1 a minute later, but shot just wide after being fed by Reyna.
Sancho and Brandt replaced Reus and Hazard respectively in the final quarter of an hour. Akanji had a go with a free-kick 25 metres from goal that had been awarded for a foul on Bellingham and when it bounced back off the wall, Delaney lashed the follow-up wide (77).
Lazio were playing for the win and Bürki did well to save Immobile's volley from 16 metres in the 87th minute. In the final minute, the Lazio captain trod on Hummels' foot and he was stretchered off. Borussia went into the four minutes of added time a man down, having used their three substitution windows, and might have conceded a last-minute goal had Bürki not fished Pereira's free-kick away from the top corner (90+4).
BVB are in action again on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET) when they visit Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. They will then travel to St. Petersburg for their final match of the Champions League group stages on Tuesday (18:55 CET).