The UEFA Champions League has reached the business end of the competition. It's knockout football. There is no margin for error, there can be no more slip-ups. Ahead of the round of 16, we take a closer look at how Dortmund made it through the group stage and assess their chances of marching into the quarter-finals.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
Dortmund qualified as group-winners after six matches that brought goals galore for Thomas Tuchel’s side. Their 8-4 victory over Legia Warszawa on Matchday 5 was the highest-scoring game in UEFA Champions League history. They went on to set a new record for goals scored in a UCL group stage after hitting two more in a 2-2 draw in Madrid that sealed top spot for the Germans and took their overall tally to 21 in six matches.
MOST EXCITING MOMENT
Dortmund’s first meeting with Madrid brought an entertaining 2-2 draw at the BVB Stadion, though the hosts left disappointed after believing they had done enough to grab all three points. When the two sides met on Matchday 6 for the return game in the Spanish capital, Dortmund found themselves two goals down before the hour-mark. Aware they had to avoid defeat to claim the group, Tuchel’s side roared back, with Marco Reus netting a dramatic and brilliant 88th-minute equaliser.
Confident they would do enough to take all six points from Legia and Sporting, Dortmund’s fate was always going to depend on the two matches with Madrid. The two sides had become UCL rivals in recent years, with BVB dumping our Madrid in the 2012-13 semi-finals before the Blancos got their own back in the quarter-finals the following year. Two fiercely contested draws left Dortmund able to seal the group thanks to their performances elsewhere.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has taken the continent by storm since his 2013 arrival from Saint-Etienne, and continues to attract major interest from the likes of Real Madrid. He's hit 19 goals in 36 European matches for BVB and helped himself to four during the group stage. One of the world’s leading marksmen, his ability to find the net continues to be vital for Tuchel’s side who are saving their best form this season for the UCL.
CHANCES OF PROGRESSION
Dortmund arrived in the round of 16 as clear favourites against a Benfica side who managed the lowest points tally of all those who made it through the group stage. Free-scoring BVB have found Bundesliga life surprisingly difficult this term, leaving most of their eggs sitting in the UCL basket. But a 1-0 defeat to the Portuguese in the first-leg last month has left BVB with some work to do.