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After suffering a Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich at Wembley last May,Borussia Dortmund were eager to set the record straight in London against Arsenal Tuesday evening.
There was plenty of hype going into the match. Arsenal’s new star signing, Germany international Mesut Özil, came into the match in great form. Dortmund, meanwhile, had a near-full strength squad to choose from, including the return of defenders Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer to the starting lineup.
Dortmund jumped out to an early lead when some hard work from Marco Reus made the most of Arsenal’s poor passing in their own box, and he knocked the ball to Robert Lewandowski. The Polish forward had to only make a short pass across the area to Henrikh Mikhitaryan, who fired low to make it 1-0 just after 15 minutes.
It was a deserved lead for Dortmund, who looked much more confident in attack for most of the opening half.
Unfortunately for the visitors, a mistake of their own would lead to the equalizer just before the break. After Bacary Sagna sent a cross into the box from the right wing, Dortmund defender Nevan Subotic stuck out a leg to clear the ball, but instead flicked it past his goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. The ball fell right into the path of Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, whose emphatic finish on an empty net sent the crowd at the Emirates to their feet.
Lewandowski finds winner
The second half went on much like the first. Dortmund often looked better in the final third, but Arsenal controlled more possession.
It was in the 82nd minute that the visitors scored the winning goal. Fill-in right back Kevin Grosskreutz motored down the right wing before sending a cross to a wide-open Lewandowski at the far post. He finished confidently to make it 2-1 – a final result that mirrored their losing score line five months ago at Wembley.
“It was an important goal and an important victory,” Lewandowski put it succinctly to broadcaster Sky after the match.
The win puts Dortmund equal with Arsenal and Napoli in Group F, with all teams on six points.
Schalke suffer heavy home defeat
Schalke were the German side with the benefit of home field advantage on Tuesday, but they hardly made the most of it. It was always going to be difficult against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side, who had the organization that Schalke clearly lacked.
As they’ve seemed to do all season, Schalke conceded an easy goal off a set piece on just five minutes. Branislav Ivanovic knocked on a Chelsea corner to the far post, where a diving Fernando Torres was left wide open by Roman Neustädter to head the ball into the net.
Despite controlling around 60 percent of possession, it wasn’t until the final few minutes of the half that Schalke put together a good run of attacking football. Max Meyer, Kevin-Prince Boateng and captain Benedikt Höwedes all had decent opportunities on goal late on, but rarely was Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny truly tested.
Instead, striker Boateng would often find himself drifting back past the halfway line to pick up the ball, unable to establish any offensive cohesion with his young supporting midfield trio of Meyer, Julian Draxler and Christian Clemens.
The next 45 minutes went no better for the hosts. Torres grabbed a second goal in the 68th minute on a three-on-one breakaway against which, Jermaine Jones was helpless to defend.
Coach Jens Keller attempted to change things around immediately after by bringing on Sead Kolasinac and Adam Szalai for Jones and Boateng, but Mourinho responded by removing the attacking Andre Schürrle for defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel.
A third goal from Eden Hazard on another counter attack in the 87th minute sealed what was already a near-certain win for Chelsea. The victory sends them joint-top of Group E with six points.