Borussia Dortmund went down fighting in their Champions League Round of 16 clashes against Chelsea. After winning the first game at home, they ended up going down to a 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge to an inspired Premier League side.
The game was also full of drama –which left a lot of Dortmund players extremely perturbed. Chelsea scored their second goal – ultimately the winner – through their second penalty attempt after Kai Havertz’s first effort hit the post.
The VAR team noticed that there was an encroachment in the build to the penalty and ordered for it to be re-taken, much to Dortmund’s dismay. Havertz ended up slotting home his second effort and the Bundesliga side failed to recover from that, going down to a narrow loss.
This came as a bit of a surprise because of the circumstances heading into the game. Dortmund have been flying in recent weeks and competing strongly for the Bundesliga title. Chelsea, however, had lost four out of their last five games across all competitions.
However, Graham Potter’s men found their second wind and managed to thrill the Stamford Bridge faithful by progressing into the Champions League quarter-finals. Dortmund, however, cannot be faulted for a lack of effort and did put in everything to salvage a result.
In fact, even before they had stepped onto the Stamford Bridge pitch to play the game, the German side went out of the box in their pre-match preparations. They arrived in London in style wearing customized suits that made the players look like characters straight from Peaky Blinders.
After that, the players put in a lot of work in their pre-match training to oust the Premier League giants. On Monday, they trained at Stamford Bridge as part of UEFA’s rules and got a bit accustomed to what can be expected on that ground.
However, Dortmund then took another step to really amp up their fitness and preparation levels for this major European game. Just hours ahead of the kick-off on Tuesday, Edin Terzic decided to take his side to a public training ground in London in a last-minute warm-up session.
Fans were stunned o see that the German giants were training at a football pitch located in Moorgate. This is a free-to-all training pitch that can be rented out at £ 1000 per hour plus VAT. The ground belongs to the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), and hosts multiple sporting events like football, cricket, rugby and even archery.
Dortmund travelled on their team buses to the ground, which is at a very random location with tons of buildings surrounding it – meaning the residents of those apartments – or any passing person – could’ve had a free look at the German side’s warm-up session. It’s also possible that this warmup session could’ve caused them to be late for the Chelsea game, forcing the kick-off to be postponed by 10 minutes.
This is actually not even the first time that Dortmund has utilized a random training ground to prepare for a Champions League clash in London. Back in 2014 ahead of their Champions League group stage game against Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp decided to hold a warmup session hours before kickoff at Regent’s Park.
That ground is mostly used for matches in the Sunday League and like Moorgate, that ground doesn’t have any ‘state of the art’ facilities either. In what can only be described as an uncanny déjà vu, Dortmund had also suffered a 2-0 loss to Arsenal the last time they trained in a public ground in London – and exactly the same happened against Chelsea too.
Perhaps this could serve as a learning lesson for the German side to not be too over-the-top with their pre-match training and just stick to their regular routine before major Champions League trips going forward.