Borussia Dortmund failed to round off their Europa League group campaign with a victory as PAOK’S Robert Mak consigned them to a 1-0 home defeat on Thursday.
Dortmund’s hopes of topping Group C were reliant on Krasnodar dropping points at Qabala but, with the Russians registering a comfortable 3-0 victory in Azerbaijan, the match at Signal Iduna Park effectively became a dead rubber – PAOK having already been eliminated from the competition.
The home side, who are safely into the last 32, failed to make the most of their possession early on and were eventually punished when Mak beat the offside trap to tuck home the opener shortly after the half-hour mark.
Mak was also the scorer in the 1-1 draw in Greece that contributed to Dortmund’s failure to finish at the summit and he ends the pool having scored all three of PAOK’s group-stage goals.
Dortmund hit the post either side of Mak’s strike and Shinji Kagawa saw a header superbly pawed over the crossbar by Panagiotis Glykos early in the second half.
But Thomas Tuchel’s men – who remarkably hit the woodwork for a third time 14 minutes from the end – were unable to find the leveller on a frustrating outing that sees them finish the group three points adrift of Krasnodar.
Despite making seven changes to the side that won 2-1 at Wolfsburg at the weekend, Dortmund totally dominated the early exchanges – Kagawa finding the outside of the post with the hosts’ first clear-cut opportunity after 10 minutes.
However, for all their dominance in possession, Dortmund struggled to create goalscoring chances with any great regularity.
The home side saw a penalty appeal turned down when Dimitrios Konstantinidis dived in to dispossess Adnan Januzaj in the box, before Matthias Ginter skied an effort from a promising position.
And it was PAOK who first had the ball in the back of the net, although Giorgos Tzavellas’ effort was ruled out for offside.
The offside flag came to Dortmund’s rescue once more before Mak eventually broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute.
Played onside by a stray yellow shirt, Mak ran onto an Ioannis Mystakidis throughball, knocked it beyond goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and cut home from a tight angle.
Dortmund came agonisingly close to restoring parity when Marco Reus found the post from a difficult angle after Januzaj had a shot parried in the closing stages of the first half, while PAOK had Glykos to thank for keeping them in front early in the second.
The goalkeeper first produced a wonderful reaction save to tip Kagawa’s header over, before Ginter nodded straight into his heads from a right-wing cross moments later.
Substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan sent a long-range effort whistling past the right-hand post as Dortmund pushed for an equaliser, before fellow replacement Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Kagawa and Reus in hitting the post – his powerful header rebounding off the upright.
Mkhitaryan should have tested Glykos when Januzaj found his head with a cross late on, but events in Azerbaijan mean Dortmund’s slip-up is of little consequence.
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