Chelsea boss Graham Potter breaks character in job-saving Dortmund win

Chelsea came up trumps when it really mattered on the biggest night of Graham Potter’s Stamford Bridge career to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund. The Blues were excellent throughout as goals from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz – who notched a retaken penalty after initially missing from 12-yards – saw them overturn the 1-0 deficit sustained in Germany three weeks ago. Here are some talking points from Stamford Bridge.

Havertz shows bottle

Kai Havertz was at the top of his game here and displayed immense character to vindicate exactly why Graham Potter has continued to persist with him despite scrutiny and his various struggles in front of goal.

He stepped up when it mattered, despite missing his initial penalty, he shows courage to stroke the retake to the same side but this time around, it rolled into the back of the net. It was the goal that his performance deserved.

The German was key to every Chelsea attack, his movement pulled Dortmund out of joint, his touch was largely sublime and he consistently picked up dangerous positions on the field.

He rattled the inside of the post before Raheem Sterling eventually notched the opener but Havertz had the ball in the net himself prior to that when his stunning curler flew in off the crossbar. It was chalked off for offside but it also done his confidence the world of good.

This was a huge night for Chelsea and Havertz grabbed the bull by the horns with a statement, match-winning performance for the Blues.

Potter breaks character with explosion of joy

There was a telling shake of the head from Graham Potter at 0-0 that really said it all.

Whether you think he has what it takes to be successful at Chelsea or not, you cannot deny that he has been on the receiving end of some rotten luck so far during his rocky tenure.

And that was typified in the first half when Kai Havertz bent home an absolute pearler that flew in off the crossbar – only for the linesman to raise his flag (correctly).

Raheem Sterling was offside and everybody could see that from the outset but the linesman had to let the sequence of play run incase VAR was ready to make an intervention.

Potter could only shake his head in dismay after his team were denied such a fabulous goal. Thankfully it wasn’t too long before the Blues were ahead courtesy of Sterling’s first-half opener.

The expression of disappointment – which was visible just a few yards away from the press box – was one that drew immediate feelings of sympathy. Potter deserves some luck and he was right involved in this game from the get-go, rallying the crowd and applauding his players on the field.

You could see how much both goals meant to him as he passionately erupted in his technical area – particularly for the opener when he exploded with joy. It was great to see.

This was a night where he deserved good fortune, his team were excellent when the pressure was on and he also deserves the plaudits for the performance he got from his players.

Jude Bellingham upstaged

On a night where the spotlight was there for the taking, Jude Bellingham endured a rare blip despite captaining the Borussia Dortmund side.

He was relatively quiet throughout and later squandered a glorious chance to draw his side level when he fired wide from just a few yards out with the goal at his mercy.

Kepa Arrizabalaga wouldn’t have been able to keep the ball out or react in time, it was simply too close for comfort. Bellingham also fouled Wesley Fofana during another attack, pointing towards a frustrating night for the central midfielder.

This second leg belonged to the likes of his England roomie Reece James, Kai Havertz and Marc Cucurella, who were strong throughout to wrestle back the tie for the Blues.

It wasn’t to be for Bellingham but he will certainty come again, perhaps for an English club next season as the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool prepare to rival Real Madrid for his signature.

Cucurella reborn

Marc Cucurella looked much more comfortable on the left side of a back-three with Ben Chilwell on the overlap at wing-back.

The curly-headed Spaniard has had a really rough time at Stamford Bridge since arriving at the club for £63million from Brighton – even being booed by his own supporters – but he showed he has a future here in west London.

He was eager to impress, flying into tackles but what stood out more than anything was his smart usage of the ball. His passes were crisp and punched into the receiver, whereas some of his team-mates were guilty of selling their passes short.

Cucurella was very positive from the get-go and was always looking to move the ball wit intent and purpose. It helped Chelsea in transition, certainly when attempted to quickly build attacks.

The defender is definitely not a centre-back but he provides a nice balance on the left of a back-three – allowing Kaidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana to mop up aerially while making Sebastien Haller.

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