Borussia Dortmund booked their place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 15 years with a 3-0 win at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in Tuesday’s round-of-16, second-leg tie.
Having drawn 2-2 in Ukraine three weeks previously in the first leg, Borussia went through 5-2 on aggregate as goals by Felipe Santana, Mario Goetze and Jakub “Kuba” Blaszczykowski capped the German champions’ dominant display.
Dortmund are in the last eight for the first time since 1998, when, as defending champions, they lost in the semi-finals.
“We knew we had a huge chance to reach the quarter-finals and we delivered a great performance,” goalscorer Goetze said. “Obviously, scoring two goals in the first half gave us a lot of confidence.”
On the eve of the match, Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu boldly predicted the winner of the tie would reach the final at Wembley in London on May 25 and Dortmund gave his statement some credibility with an impressive performance.
Before his side crashed out at the hands of Real Madrid at home on Tuesday, Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson had tipped Dortmund to win the title, but Borussia coach Jurgen Klopp played down the rising expectations.
“There are still lots of strong teams in the competition,” Klopp said. “We are just delighted with the result and I am proud of the team. This is an exceptional performance, the whole Champions League campaign has gone like clockwork and this was an unbelievable 90 minutes from us.”
It was their fourth straight home win in Europe this season at Signal Iduna Park and their fifth in all.
Germany international defender Mats Hummels, who scored the late equalizer in Donetsk, missed his third straight match with flu, but Brazilian centerback Santana proved to be an able deputy.
The hosts started to get the upper hand early on, with Goetze and defensive midfielder Ilkay Gundogan at the heart of several attacks when only the final shot was missing.
It came soon enough when Santana’s bullet header on 31 minutes more than made up for his shaky performances in the previous two games when he buried Goetze’s cross to claim his first goal since January.
The second followed six minutes later when Goetze added a touch of magic to a Robert Lewandowski cross and used his heel to flick the ball into the far corner, with Donetsk goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov stranded in the middle of his goal, to make it 2-0 at the break.
With their Champions League survival in the balance, Shakhtar came out fighting in the second half, with Brazilian Douglas Costa, on for compatriot Taison on the right wing, and Alex Texeira both going close, but the game was effectively decided when Blaszczykowski profited after Pyatov parried Gundogan’s fierce drive, but the ball fell at the Poland captain’s feet and he dutifully tucked it away on 59 minutes.
Several Shakhtar defenders slumped on the turf and Pyatov was left prostrate, while Dortmund celebrated in the left corner by mobbing the Polish goalscorer.
To their credit, Donetsk responded by pressing the Dortmund defense.
Borussia captain Roman Weidenfeller had to make a good save to block a fierce Yaroslav Rakitskiy drive from close range on 77 minutes, before Marco Reus squandered a clear chance at the other end in the final 10 minutes.