Borussia Dortmund welcomed Eredivisie champions Ajax for another showdown following a 4-0 humbling in the Netherlands. BVB were without Raphaël Guerreiro, Giovanni Reyna, Emre Can, Nico Schulz, Marcel Schmelzer, Mahmoud Dahoud and Erling Haaland for the tie. Erik Ten Hag did not have any major injuries, but he has to play his third-choice goalkeeper Remko Pasveer with Andre Onana only returning from a doping ban while Maarten Stekelenburg is injured. A win would guarantee Ajax passage into the next round of the UEFA Champions League to join Juventus and Bayern Munich. A win for BVB would restore pride and put them closer to the top.
Borussia Dortmund missed two fine chances to get a goal in the first ten minutes. Mats Hummels missed a wide-open header from a Julian Brandt setpiece. Jude Bellingham then missed after Thorgan Hazard took advantage of a Lisandro Martinez slip before crossing for the young Englishman. Ryan Gravenberch then forced a brilliant save from Gregor Kobel in what was Ajax’s first chance. The game was fast-paced with several technical and clever footballers on the pitch.
Michael Oliver was the referee, and it was surprising to see the English official brandishing a red card for Hummels. The German put a rash challenge on Antony, but there is a case to be made that Antony actually fouled him. The VAR room let the decision be, and Marco Rose was rightly infuriated. Rose brought on Marin Pongracic for Hazard. A few minutes later, the ref made another controversial call when he gave a penalty for a clip on Jude Bellingham. Noussair Mazraoui had no idea, but Bellingham’s leg went back to shoot and clipped the Moroccans leg. Marco Reus stepped up and netted the penalty. Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Ajax.
On 39, Reus curled a right-footed effort over the bar from a Brandt pull back. Lisandro Martinez volleyed wide from a corner, and from a counter-attack, Kobel had to stick his leg out to prevent Steven Berghuis from scoring before the break. Half-time.
Davy Klaassen replaced Edson Alvarez who was booked for a foul on Bellingham in the first period. Jude Bellingham was everywhere in the first half and made his presence felt. He chested the ball down before turning and firing, and it was very close. The 18-year-old then drove towards the box before crossing for Brandt who could not turn it in. Felix Passlack replaced Marius Wolf who sustained an injury.
Ajax stepped up the pressure realizing that their man advantage was wearing BVB out. Mohamed Kudus replaced Berghuis. On 71, Jurrien Timber worked the ball out to Antony who had been a thorn in BVB’s flesh all game. He bent in a cross, and Pongracic sent it on for Dusan Tadic to steer it in at the back post. Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Ajax
Donyell Malen and Ansgar Knauff replaced Reus and the anonymous Steffen Tigges. Kudus should have gone for a basic volley from a few yards out, but his spectacular overhead kick went to throw in. Minutes later, Antony was at it again. The Brazilian bent in a similar cross, and Sebastien Haller overpowered Manuel Akanji to head home. It killed Dortmund spirits. Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Ajax.
A minute later and Ajax dismantled BVB again. Antony crossed for Klaassen to score. It was the last kick of the game as it ended Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Ajax.