Potter can breathe a sigh of relief after Dortmund win

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  • Post published:March 9, 2023

Chelsea manager Graham Potter can finally breathe a sigh of relief after his side defeated Borussia Dortmund to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Blues overcame a 1-0 deficit from the first leg by defeating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at Stamford Bridge with goals from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz.

After a terrible run of form in the Premier League and early exits from both domestic cup competitions, Potter’s position appeared to be in jeopardy if his team exited Europe.

Despite only three wins in 16 games before Dortmund’s visit, Chelsea’s new ownership has remained loyal to the former Brighton manager.

After spending over £500 million ($600 million) on new players, co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali walked off the field with smiles on their faces, having just witnessed the best result of their tenure.

“Things are never bad forever, but it felt like that sometimes,” said Potter on the pressure he has been under in recent weeks.

Still, Harry Potter must contend with obstacles.

Unresolved is Chelsea’s profligacy over the two legs, which left the match in the balance until the very end.

Sterling scored the game-winning goal just before halftime, but was also responsible for numerous missed opportunities.

Havertz was given a second chance when his penalty kick rebounded off the post.

The German international capitalized on his second opportunity after a VAR review revealed that Dortmund players had impeded his first attempt.

But there was finally some relief for Potter, who has risen from coaching in the ninth tier of English football to the quarterfinals of Europe’s premier tournament.

“It was a special night,” added Potter. “To win a game to go into the last eight of the Champions League is up there in terms of wins and games in my career.”

After dismissing a manager in the middle of the season, Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012 and 2021. Both times, the run was unexpected.

With more than a month remaining until the quarterfinals, there is still time for lightning to strike a third time if Potter can foster greater cohesion among his expensively assembled stars.

If there is still work to be done in the front, Potter appears to be laying a solid foundation in the back.

Dortmund arrived in London riding a 10-game winning streak, but they were largely kept at bay, with the exception of a Marco Reus free-kick that forced Kepa Arrizabalaga to make a diving save in the first half.

The return from injury of Reece James, Ben Chilwell, and Wesley Fofana was instrumental in Chelsea’s fifth clean sheet against Bundesliga title contenders in nine matches.

“It’s not easy,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic on breaking Chelsea down. “It’s not just that they spent money, they brought in some quality players. You can feel that they are always dangerous.”