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UEFA Champions League
November 26, 2013
• Signal-Iduna-Park, Dortmund
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
• Attendance: 65829
M. Reus 11'
J. Błaszczykowski 60'
P. Aubameyang 78'
L. Insigne 71'
That's all we have time for from Dortmund's thrilling 3-1 Champions League victory over Napoli, which drags the hosts right back into the hunt for qualification from Group F. I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you all again next time.
Though Napoli had a good period of the first half and threatened sporadically, Dortmund deserved the win due to their incisive counter-attacking and resolute defending considering their absentees. The visitors would certainly have benefitted from Hamsik's presence tonight.
That result means that Napoli remain uncertain of their chances of going through to the knockout stages, with the group's top three teams capable of all finishing on 12 points. Group F promises to be a very close run thing, minus the performance of Marseille.
FULL TIME! Jurgen Klopp punches the air in delight as the referee's blows his whistle, and Dortmund are right back in Group F! The third goal from Aubameyang sealed the win, after earlier goals from Reus and Blaszczykowski were momentarily threatened by a Insigne consolation.
90' + 2'
INSIGNE! Good save from Weidenfeller, the youngster cuts inside from the left once again to try his luck with his stronger right foot. The Italy international looks to place a curling effort across goal, into Weidenfeller's bottom right corner, but the keeper beats it away!
Three minutes of stoppage time have been awarded.
Klopp makes another substitution to keep things fresh, giving Schieber a Champions League runout in place of Lewandowski, who just couldn't convert tonight. Though he wasn't amongst the goals, he offers so much to Dortmund's style of play that he deserves his place on the team sheet without question.
Only five minutes or so left to play, and it seems as though Napoli will need to labour through their next group game, rather than having any security by grabbing a share of the spoils tonight. There's still time, but the Serie A side's hopes of getting a point from this game seem lost.
MKHITARYAN! The Armenian once again goes on a marauding run straight through the middle of Napoli, before peeling off to the left to hammer a powerful effort at Reina's near post! The Spanish goalkeeper is equal to it!
Lewandowski is found offside as the 25-year-old looked to ghost in behind enemy lines, but the linesman's flag stops the Dortmund hitman from going any further. He's not had a great deal of chance tonight, but Lewandowski provides a great physical presence.
ZAPATA! The Colombian almost catches Weidenfeller out with a snapshot, but the German keeper does well to hold onto the effort. Another half chance for the away side.
Klopp opts to give Piszczek a return to Champions League action, after the Polish right-back's lengthy stay on the sidelines. Ten minutes left on the clock, and Napoli are keen to get a goal back, merely for their goal difference heading into the final group games.
Well, Napoli look as though they'll have to wait for any confirmation of qualification now, as the two goal cushion has been re-established. That finish was exquisite from Aubameyang, even with Reina in top form there was nothing the loanee goalkeeper could have done.
Assist Robert Lewandowski
Goal Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
GOOOOOAL! THIS TIME HE MAKES NO MISTAKE AUBAMEYANG SCORES! His pace was too much to handle as he makes up terrific ground to support Lewandowski, who slips him in, allowing for the former St Etienne man to clip the ball over Reina and into the net!
Just under a quarter of an hour to play, and Napoli now can aim to level up this tie. Should they get a point from the game tonight, Benitez' men will presumably be on course to progress into the next round of the competition. Klopp's side can't afford to let this lead slip!
WHAT A MISS! Aubameyang streaks through on goal with great pace, before the Gabonese striker fails to put the ball past the onrushing Pepe Reina! A strong left hand from Reina denies him, but the Dortmund forward should have done better than that!
Mkhitaryan! The game opens up for the Armenian attacking midfielder, but instead of opting to shoot he makes a cute pass to look for the overlapping Aubameyang! Too intricate, and the crowd let him know of their disdain.
Assist Gonzalo Higuaín
Goal Lorenzo Insigne
GOOOOOAL! INSIGNE CONVERTS! It's a great finish from the Italian, as his shot takes a mild deflection off Weidenfeller, before clipping the inside of the post and bouncing over the line! Both Kehl and the goalkeeper can certainly be questioned over that goal! Napoli are back in this at 2-1!
With under half an hour remaining, Napoli certainly have to take things up a gear if they are to have any chance of closing the gap on their adversaries. Chances have been few and far between for the visitors, with Higuain's miss in the build-up to Dortmund's second goal becoming increasingly more glaring.
REUS! He had Reina scrambling there! An audacious attempt from some way out, and the ball flashes past the post and thuds into the advertising boards. That would have been some finish if that had crept inside the woodwork.
Benitez is set to shuffle his pack once again, bringing on a certain source of inspiration and spark, in the form of Lorenzo Insigne. The young Italian is somewhat of a raw talent, but scored an excellent free-kick in the previous Champions League match against Dortmund.
Blaszczykowski! The Dortmund goalscorer is denied of the opportunity to make it a brace for the night, as Reina is off his line in a flash to hoof an intelligent through ball clear! One more goal would certainly do it for Klopp's side.
INLER! The substitute almost scores immediately after taking to the field, as Weidenfeller is forced to grip onto the powerful effort with Higuain lurking. A goal for Napoli would certainly change the impetus of the game.
Napoli have a great deal of work to do now, as overturning a two goal deficit looks unlikely, despite Dortmund's defensive absentees. Benitez will presumably look to change things now, as the visitors' midfield has been lacklustre throughout.
Assist Marco Reus
Goal Jakub Blaszczykowski
GOOOOOAL! BLASZCZYKOWSKI! KUBA! They counter and they reap the rewards! Higuain's chance seems a long time ago now, as Reus broke down the left hand side, before squaring to Blaszczykowski who was unmarked at the back post! The captain nutmegs Reina to make it 2-0!
GREAT SAVE WEIDENFELLER! Higuain is chipped through on goal, and the Dortmund keeper is very quick off his line to deny the Spaniard! It all seemed to open up for the former Real Madrid man, but Weidenfeller made an excellent save!
MKHITARYAN! What a goal that would have been! The Armenian carries the ball some way up the field, before a slight touch from Reina does just enough to allow Fernandez to clear the ball off the line! It's all Dortmund in terms of chance!
REUS! The goalscorer sees a long-range free-kick effort palmed over the bar by Reina. The Germany international has had much better luck with his set pieces tonight, in the previous Champions League fixture against this opposition, his free-kicks were often very wayward.
Grosskreutz does well to overlap on the right hand side, but Armero blocks his cross well to deny Dortmund the opportunity to attack the ball in the area. The hosts are in the ascendancy and their fans can sense it.
GREAT DEFENDING! Last ditch stuff from Maggio as the Italian slides in at the back post to prevent Lewandowski from bundling home what looked like a certain goal! Mkhitaryan slipped in his teammate, but the Napoli captain denied him!
REUS! WHAT A CHANCE FOR DORTMUND! Mkhitaryan strides forward at pace, before overlapping his run with Blaszczykowski to allow the captain to cut inside. The Polish international finds Reus in space at the back post, but he fires wide!
Two half chances for Napoli, as a quick break almost leaves Callejon able to nip inside Durm to reach the penalty spot, but the intended ball never arrived. Mertens then fails to deliver accurately with a second free-kick, tonight isn't going too well for the Belgian.
Well claimed by Reina! Sahin floats a ball into the penalty area that Lewandowski looks to challenge for, but Reina is alert to the danger and collects the loose ball from the edge of his six yard box.
Still no chances in this second half, as a Mertens free-kick which struck the wall is the closest either outfit have come. A cagey start to proceedings in the second half.
Wasted possession from Mkhitaryan! The midfielder glides into a pocket of space at the edge of the penalty area, but fails to slip Reus into the channel on the left hand side, and is instead robbed of the ball. The crowd groan collectively with frustration.
Despite taking a knock to his nose in the first half, Bender is back out with his team in the second half, as Dortmund really don't have any other options to exercise. The Germany international will need to be at his best to stave off the threat of an Italian equaliser here. Rumour has it that he's actually broken it.
We are back underway for the second half! Both sides still have all to play for despite the hosts having a slender one goal advantage, and more goals look likely in the upcoming 45 minutes!
Both managers of the respective sides on show tonight have been shortlisted for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men's Football award in recent weeks, with Klopp recently committing to a new contract with Dortmund. Both men certainly have the credentials to take their outfits to the later stages of the Champions League.
Dortmund's theoretically less than sturdy defence is doing a good job thus far, with Sven Bender in particular making a few important interventions. Both Grosskreutz and Durm have dealt with Napoli's overlapping full-backs rather well too.
Both Weidenfeller and Reina have been tested regularly in the first half, the former denying Armero and the latter being in good form to deny a Reus free-kick, a ferocious Mkhitaryan strike and a one-on-one with Lewandowski. Dortmund just couldn't find that metaphorical safety net of a second goal.
HALF TIME! A good first half draws to a close with the hosts having a slim advantage, thanks to an early penalty conversion from Marco Reus. Napoli have since grown into the game, striking the post courtesy of Jose Callejon, in what has been a tight match-up.
45' + 2'
ARMERO! The Colombian tries his luck from range, stinging the gloves of Weidenfeller with a dipping drive that arrowing its way past three Dortmund defenders on its route to goal. Weidenfeller deals with it well, however, beating it clear of the penalty area.
45' + 1'
Another good interception from Bender denies Higuain from linking up with Pandev, and the defensive midfielder is currently plying his unfamiliar trade at centre-back rather well.
LEWANDOWSKI! The 25-year-old tries his luck from a very tight angle, but it takes a deflection off Fernandez and bounces gladly into the grateful arms of Reina. Another half chance for Dortmund, but they can't capitalise once again.
Despite willing runners in the form of Maggio, Armero and Callejon, Napoli aren't creating too much going forward. Higuain is constantly making intelligent runs and dropping into pockets of space, but Pandev isn't doing enough to act as the supply line between midfield and attack.
Bender makes an important header! Higuain is again the target, but the defensive midfielder manages to do just enough to nod the ball away from danger. Pandev picks up the pieces, but a poor touch from the Spaniard runs the ball out of play for a goal kick.
Good work from Durm! The young left-back gets his body in between a lofted through ball and Higuain at the back post, allowing for Weidenfeller to come off his line to collect the loose ball. The second-choice left back is yet to be really tested, but that was good defending.
Dortmund are happy to hold onto the ball, but the game is incredibly stop-start at the moment, much to the disdain of the home supporters. This hasn't been end-to-end stuff, with only Dortmund occasionally threatening to make quick transitions. Callejon's striking of the woodwork remains Napoli's only real opening in this game thus far.
Yellow Card Goran Pandev
Yellow Card Sebastian Kehl
As we head into the final stages of the first half, things are getting a little scrappy, with the visitors picking up a few yellow cards for cynical niggles. As a reminder, if either Bender or Lewandowski pick up a booking for Dortmund tonight, they miss the next Champions League fixture.
Yellow Card Raúl Albiol
A very poor tackle from Albiol has the home fans in their entirety enraged here, as the Spaniard slides through the back of Mkhitaryan to try and win possession in the centre of the field. There was no need to make that challenge, and fortunately nobody was hurt as a result.
LEWANDOWSKI! A great save from Reina denies the Dortmund striker, who managed to profit from a poor touch by Maggio to get onto the end of a poor through ball from Reus! Reina is very quick off his line to close down the 25-year-old and makes the block!
MKHITARYAN! A strong palm from Reina parries the former Shakhtar midfielder's strike around the post, before the Spaniard is able to claim the resulting corner ahead of Lewandowski with ease. If Mkhitaryan had placed that ball slightly further to the left of Reina, that could have been 2-0.
Mkhitaryan has gone down injured after striking an effort narrowly past the post from 20 yards out. That would normally be worrying, but the Armenian is quick to get back to his feet and continue with the game. Given Dortmund's recent injury luck, I'm sure plenty of Dortmund staff and fans alike were rather worried there!
LEWANDOWSKI! The Poland international is penalised for a push on Albiol, after a good cut-back from Reus looked to find the lone striker in the penalty area. A half chance for the hosts, but nothing more.
CALLEJON! It's struck the foot of the post! Napoli break quickly, with an excellent driving run from the former Real Madrid man resulting in the Spaniard striking the bottom of the upright with a shot across the helpless Weidenfeller! A warning sign for Dortmund!
After the first 20 minutes belonging to Dortmund, the away side are slowly growing into the game with more of the ball. Mertens and Armero have already been able to isolate Grosskreutz, with the hosts' utility man possibly being a weak link for them to exploit.
Bender appears to have an injury complaint, as the deputising central defender looks to have a nosebleed. He's quickly patched up however, as Dortmund really don't have any defensive options on the bench that would be up to Champions League standard.
Good challenge from Bender! The makeshift centre half robs Mertens of the ball after the Belgian ghosted past Grosskreutz as though he wasn't there. Thus far, the second-string Dortmund defence are weathering the storm.
A nice piece of skill from Dzemaili opens up the field for Napoli, as they look for the overlaps of the pacey Armero, but Dortmund's pressing is thwarting them thus far. The home side compress space exceptionally well, making it very difficult for away sides to break against them if they don't do so with real pace.
The hosts have had the dream start to this game, but a second goal is essential for Klopp to rest easy. With a clinical striker in the form of Higuain leading the line for the visitors, one chance could undo 20 minutes of good Dortmund work. They need a two goal cushion from this spell of dominance.
Dortmund are winning the midfield battle at the moment, with the technical ability of Mkhitaryan already evident, and both Reus and Blaszczykowski prepared to work back defensively whenever possible. The absence of Hamsik could be the key factor behind a Dortmund victory here tonight.
Napoli have their first real spell of possession in this game, after nearly 20 minutes on the back foot. Dortmund have really come out of the traps well, with their defending from the front attitude of pressure leading to their makeshift defence not being tested as of yet.
REINA! Good save from the Spaniard, as he gets down well to his bottom left corner to palm Reus' effort around the post for a corner! Good goalkeeping from the Napoli keeper, and the Serie A outfit then clear the resulting set piece with ease.
A push on the edge of the area from Armero has presented Dortmund with the chance to try their luck from a close range free kick. Sahin or Reus will presumably be the two to fight it out for this dead ball opportunity.
LEWANDOWSKI! WHAT A CHANCE! Mkhitaryan skips through the heart of the Napoli defence, releasing Lewandowski into a one-on-one situation with Reina! The Polish striker fires into the side netting however, despite half of the stadium probably backing him to slot the ball home!
Lewandowski goes down under the challenge of Maggio! The Italy international did look to push the Dortmund man, who could have picked up yet another early penalty inside the opening 15 minutes! The referee waves away the home side's claims, but they had reason to ask.
Blaszczykowski! The Polish winger heads towards goal, but it really is ambitious! Reina collects with ease, but the home fans don't mind. The vocal backing of their side is rather deafening, and the early impetus is going in the favour of Dortmund.
Well, the Serie A outfit certainly have it all to do now! Napoli can't afford to lose against arguably their closest rivals in Group F, and that Marco Reus goal is somewhat of a sucker punch. A needless tug on the shirt from Callejon has really cost his side here, though how dearly remains to be seen.
Yellow Card Gonzalo Higuaín
Penalty Goal Marco Reus
GOOOOOAL! MARCO REUS CONVERTS! He slots the ball home composedly, and this was not the start that Napoli wanted whatsoever! The Germany international sends Reina the wrong way to give his side an early 1-0 lead!
Yellow Card Federico Fernández
PENALTY TO DORTMUND! Lewandowski is seemingly dragged around by Callejon, and obstructed the Dortmund striker from getting his head to a Reus corner! Early drama!
Napoli are happy to sit back and measure up their opposition in the early stages, allowing Dortmund to have plenty of possession around the halfway line. Though possession is important for the hosts, the space available to progress quickly with fast transitions is vital, so the disciplined marshalling of the space by Napoli could prove problematic.
Grosskreutz is almost able to overlap on the right hand side and get beyond Armero, but the Dortmund utility man takes a poor touch and is robbed of possession. Kehl looked to open up play quickly there, but his pass didn't do his teammate too many favours, it was very close to the Colombian.
Lewandowski is fed in behind Fernandez, but the Polish international is happy to let the ball run out of play for a throw-in. The home crowd were immediately behind their man as soon as even a sliver of an opening appeared, everyone realises the importance of this fixture for Dortmund.
As can be expected, a rather cagey start to the game, with both sides well aware of the weaponry the other possesses. Dortmund are always keen to see plenty of the ball, and I'm sure that their deputising centre halves will be keen to see plenty of possession early on to settle the nerves.
We are underway in the first half of what is arguably the most exciting Champions League game on offer this evening! Plenty of attacking flair and talent for the home side, with Rafa Benitez' teams notoriously hard to beat due to their sheer organisation. This has the makings of an excellent spectacle.
Both sides are out on the field, and as is completely expected, the atmosphere inside Dortmund's stadium is excellent. The hosts are of course in their bright yellow home strip, to match the rather excellent flags displayed in the famous Yellow Wall. Napoli aren't to be intimidated by such exploits, however, as their fans regularly create a similar atmosphere inside Stadio San Paolo.
With the aforementioned absences of Hummels and Subotic, Dortmund's defensive situation is already far from ideal. Throw in the fact that Grosskreutz has been played out of position at right-back from the start of the season, and that Marcel Schmelzer has joined his teammates in the physio room, and the Bundesliga side have an entirely second-string back line out on the field tonight.
This evening may well be a question of who can best manage without their key players. Napoli are without captain Marek Hamsik, the engine of their midfield, with Miguel Britos only just returning from a spell on the sidelines. The Uruguayan was excellent throughout the return fixture in Italy, and will be a big miss for his side tonight.
As things stand in Group F, Dortmund need a win here tonight in order to keep their qualifications hopes firmly intact. The Bundesliga club sit in third place on six points, three behind joint-leaders Arsenal and Napoli, making this fixture all the more important. The Serie A team may be content with a point here tonight, but playing for such an outcome is certainly very risky against the counter-attacking prowess of Dortmund.
Napoli substitutes: Rafael, Bruno Uvini, Britos, Insigne, Cannavaro, Inler, Zapata.
Napoli starting line-up: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Fernandez, Armero; Behrami, Dzemaili; Callejon, Pandev, Mertens; Higuain.
Dortmund substitutes: Langerak, Hofmann, Kirch, Schieber, Gunter, Piszczek, Aubameyang.
Dortmund starting line-up: Weidenfeller; Grosskreutz, Bender, Sokratis, Durm; Kehl, Sahin; Blaszczykowski, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski.
TEAM NEWS: Britos returns to the bench for Napoli, with Pandev given a start ahead of popular home grown talent Insigne. In the previous group match in Naples, the youngster caused Dortmund all kinds of problems, and Klopp might be pleased to see the Italian starlet among the substitutes.
TEAM NEWS: Piszczek is again named on the substitutes bench for Dortmund following his recovery from injury, with the similarly recently recovered Kehl being thrown into midfield. Sven Bender is asked to move out of position in order to plug the gaping hole in the centre of defence, and will be partnered by Greece international Sokratis.
Despite the frailties in terms of personnel for Dortmund, the Italian visitors may well have some psychological obstacles of their own. The weekend's Serie A defeat to Parma was their first home defeat in the league since December 2012, with more of Napoli's first team heading out to meet up with their national sides during the international break. Benitez' men need to get back into their stride.
If Dortmund are to win tonight, the result will mark their 50th European cup win to date, but doing so will be no easy task. Injuries to key defenders Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic have left last season's Champions League finalists reeling, forcing the reactionary signing of 34-year-old Manuel Friedrich to piece together the seams of the previously solid defensive line.
Dortmund last faced Italian opposition in European competition back in the 2008/2009 UEFA Cup, with Napoli's own Gokhan Inler having fond memories of the encounter. The Bundesliga side were defeated 2-0 by Udinese, with the aforementioned Swiss midfielder grabbing the all-important second goal. The Dortmund faithful will expect better from their side tonight.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be leading you through all of the action from Signal Iduna Park, as the hosts attempt to recover from a three match losing run in all competitions. Napoli have similarly hit a blip of late, losing comprehensively to Juventus, but were also narrowly beaten in a shock result against Parma last weekend.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the interestingly poised Champions League group match between Borussia Dortmund and Napoli, with the injury-ravaged home side facing a stern test from Rafa Benitez' Serie A outfit. Last time these two teams faced each other, it was a forgettable night for the German club, but Jurgen Klopp will hope to gain a more favourable result this evening.
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