Reigning German champions Dortmund drew 0-0 with Spanish side Malaga in the first leg Champions League quarter-final last night.
In truth the German side could have and should have won the game by at least two or three goals.
Dortmund missed far too many chances and their profligacy in front of goal cost them a comfortable passage into the semi-finals. Dortmund had 13 shots on goals and failed to find the net.
The likes of Mario Gotze and Marco Reus are two of the most in-demand and highly-rated youngsters in European football. They have sublime ability and could play a vital part for both club and country in years to come.
However, they are both still relatively young players. In last night’s game Gotze in particular made the wrong decisions and missed some gilt-edged chances that a player of more experience may have taken.
Reus and Gotze both had off-nights against Malaga and no doubt they will have far better games in the future.
Poland international striker Robert Lewandowski also had an uncharacteristically off-night. His performance was summed up by the striker slicing a gilt-edged opportunity wide from 12 yards out.
The Manchester United transfer target didn’t really have many other opportunities to add to his goal tally this season.
Dortmund’s lack of consistency has lost them their Bundesliga crown this season. They are currently trailing Bayern Munich by 20 points in the German top flight and the Bavarians are expected to be crowned German champions this weekend.
The cause of the inconsistency could be that the team have got slightly complacent. The team can’t always depend on the likes of Reus and Gotze to come up with the goods.
The draw in Malaga wasn’t a terrible result and Dortmund remain the only unbeaten team in the Champions League this season, after Juventus lost 2-0 at Dortmund’s rivals Bayern on Tuesday night.
The quality of the Dortmund team is illustrated by the fact that the German champions remained unbeaten in a group containing both Spanish champions Real Madrid and English champions Manchester City.
At their best Dortmund is one of the most outstanding sides in Europe to watch. They play some of the best passing, attacking football on the continent. The combination of Reus, Gotze and Lewandowski works perfectly.
All three play their part in Dortmund being such an outstanding team. Unfortunately for the German side all three could depart the Signal Iduna Park this summer. The trio are all being linked with big money moves elsewhere this summer.
Lewandowski’s agent has stated that the Pole will be moving on this summer. Reus has recently been linked with moves to Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Boss Jurgen Klopp is highly-rated and has also been linked with a move away from Dortmund. This summer could be a pivotal one in the history of the German club.
Dortmund may be outstanding, but they can’t afford to miss so many gilt-edged chances against better opponents. The best teams in world football are clinical in front of goal and against Malaga Dortmund lacked that ability.
If Dortmund are to win the Champions League then they will have to be more clinical in front of goal.
I have no doubt that Dortmund will progress into the semi-finals of the Champions League. They should have enough chances and quality in the second leg finish to beat Malaga. They will be a danger to anybody they come up against in the semi-finals.
It’s now or never for Dortmund, as a host of their squad could be moving on this summer. If this group of players are going to win the Champions League then it has to be this season. On their day Dortmund have the quality to defeat any team in the competition.
They have the sort of refreshing gung-ho approach to the game that is rare these days. However, I feel that their bid for Champions League glory could be scuppered by the lack of cutting edge displayed in last night’s clash.
Can Dortmund win the Champions League?