Karim Adeyemi scored his first goal of the season
Photo: Federico Gambarini / dpa
Straight into the penalty shoot-out: "Lutz, your assessment of the penalty," Amazon commentator Wolff Fuss wanted to send his referee expert Lutz Wagner on track. But before he could talk about the expected ball, for which Borussia Dortmund's Gregor Kobel had to save a penalty kick from Olivier Giroud, Wagner was already interrupted – because there was another penalty, this time on the other side after a foul on BVB winger Jamie Bynoe-Gittens. It was loud at the San Siro, it was hectic, and it was exactly as between genius and madness, as BVB had often been seen this season. Marco Reus' opening goal from the spot, a calmer for the game? Oh dear, it was also wild and full of volts.
The result: Borussia Dortmund wins 3-1 (1-1) at AC Milan to reach the round of <> of the Champions League. Click here for the match report.
Number four at home, number one in Europe: Edin Terzić's side travelled to Milan with a sense of achievement, having turned a 0-2 home defeat against Borussia Mönchengladbach into a 4-2 win at the weekend. But the lack of consistency is paralyzing Dortmund's ambitions in the league. There, FC Bayern Munich's big rival is now only Bayer Leverkusen, while BVB were recently outplayed by rivals VfB Stuttgart. It's a nice punchline that it was the "group of death" in the Champions League that recently built up Dortmund's self-confidence: after four matchdays, the league leaders were ahead of nouveau riche giants such as Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United. A win at AC Milan, and the round of <> would be booked.
Young, confident on the ball, dangerous: Dortmund benefited from the absence of Milan's Rafael Leão. Without the lightning-fast Portuguese, the best winger on the pitch was a Dortmund player: Jamie Bynoe-Gittens was already involved in two goals against Gladbach, and now the 19-year-old was in the BVB starting eleven for the first time in the Champions League. The winger not only took the penalty, he also scored the important 2-1 with a low shot after the break after Niclas Füllkrug and Marcel Sabitzer had combined finely to set up the goal. Bynoe-Gittens' carefree unpredictability suits BVB well at the moment – and could also be worth hard cash in the medium term: The last two talents from England, Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham, left Dortmund for high two- to low three-digit million sums. In a squad that is unusually experienced by BVB standards, Bynoe-Gittens delivers the resale value that has been the recipe for success in recent years.
Bella Thiaw: It had not been foreseeable for so long that the balance of power would tip in Dortmund's favour. Samuel Chukwueze's solo goal, in which Nigeria's Ramy Bensebaini had played a stable knot into his legs, was well deserved (37'). Ex-Dortmund player Christian Pulisic had another great chance with a blocked side-footed shot (49'). BVB only got the upper hand when Milan's injury concerns intensified and ex-Schalke and DFB defender Malick Thiaw limped off the field injured after a strong performance (53'). Substitute Rade Krunić actually plays in midfield, but BVB were able to take advantage of the new disorder – joker Karim Adeyemi even scored his first goal of the season after several months of poor form (69').
Grass Eaten: After the game, Mats Hummels was still sticking to the blades of grass when he appeared for a TV interview. "We were able to take a lot of atmosphere out of possession and I think we got a well-deserved win today," said the veteran defender, and he was right. "We've really grown in terms of attitude, in terms of will." In fact, BVB doesn't seem to be a collective of gifted players with an attitude problem this season: On bad days, there is a lack of ability rather than will, and Hummels was not exempt from that: "I'm happy that it went so well today, but there were two or three games in the last four or five weeks that I didn't agree with." Consistency remains the issue for BVB, who will be happy to be able to continue to work on it in the knockout phase.
Adieu, Paris? The last open question is which team will follow Borussia into the last 16. At the moment, PSG seems to be on the best way, on the last matchday (13 December, 21:<> CET) it is all about winning the group in Dortmund. However, if the star ensemble around Kylian Mbappé loses, it will be tight: Then the winner of the parallel match between Milan and Newcastle would advance to the next round, PSG would have to hope for a draw as a shooting aid.