CHELSEA delivered their best performance since the World Cup to come from behind against Borussia Dortmund and reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz netted either side of the break to ease the pressure on boss Graham Potter.
After Chelsea spurned a number of first half chances, Sterling finally fired them ahead just before the break – though he nearly messed that up too.
Ben Chilwell broke down the left and cutback for Sterling, whose first attempt was an air shot.
The England man recovered the ball, lifted the ball past Marco Reus and blasted home his first goal since New Year’s Day.
The Blues made a flying start to the second half when, after a sharp break saw Chilwell given the room to cross, his ball struck the arm of Marius Wolf.
After a VAR review ref Danyy Makkelie pointed the spot.
Havertz sent his first effort against the post.
But after the spot kick was ordered to be retaken due to encroachment, the German finally ended his seven-game goal drought to double the lead – slotting into the corner he was aiming for the first time around.
Here’s how the Blues rated on a night when nerves were shredded – and not just for under-fire boss Graham Potter.
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Kepa Arrizabalaga – 7
The Blues keeper didn’t have too much to do throughout the 90 minutes but was sharp and alert when called upon.
Made a flying save from a Marco Reus free-kick in the first half before getting down well to deny Wolf just after the hour mark.
Wesley Fofana – 7
Calm at the back and looking comfortable at Champions League level.
The summer signing kept Sebastien Haller quiet on his return to London and did well up against the tricky Jamie Bynoe-Gittens once he was sent on.
Kalidou Koulobaly – 7
Held the back three together throughout from the central role, with Dortmund reduced to few chances due to the defence he was conducting.
Has struggled since his move from Napoli but proved a fine understudy for the injured Thiago Silva here.
Marc Cucurella – 8
Set the tone early on with a strong challenge to win the ball in Dortmund’s half.
The former Brighton man was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI but repaid Potter’s faith with strong showing on the left of a back three.
Reece James – 7
Rained crosses into the Borussia Dortmund box throughout the first half and proved a constant threat down the right.
James was solid at the back too and both he and Chilwell are transformative for Potter and Chelsea, especially when deployed as wing-backs.
Mateo Kovacic – 7
A more aggressive and combative presence alongside Fernandez. Worked hard to try and break up Dortmund’s play throughout and tried a flash volley from the edge of the area but saw it sail over.
Enzo Fernandez – 6
A rather quiet evening from the club record signing as he looked to get to grips with England star Jude Bellingham.
Just about managed his job with Bellingham reduced to a few flashes as Fernandez and Kovacic nipped at his heels.
The Argentine grew in influence when he dropped a little deeper after Conor Gallagher was sent on to bolster the midfield
Ben Chilwell – 9
Superb work to break away and pick out Sterling for his goal and moments later he was back making a fine last-ditch challenge to deny the visitors and ensure Chelsea went in ahead.
As dogged at the back as impressive going forward.
Raheem Sterling – 8
Having seen a hat-trick of chances go to waste due to him being offside, Sterling showed good awareness to keep hold of the ball and craft another opening and find the back of the net having fluffed his first effort from Chilwell’s cross.
Joao Felix – 7
Linked well with both Sterling and Havertz and was at the heart of most attacking moves for the Blues.
Felix played a stunning ball over the top to send Havertz through on goal in the first half but probably should have opened the scoring himself when sending an effort straight at a Dortmund defender from yards out.
Kai Havertz – 8
Had to keep plugging away to end his goal drought.
The German was very unlucky not to open the scoring when his first half effort hit the inside of one post and bounced across the open goal and behind instead of in, before seeing a wonderful goal ruled out for offside against Raheem Sterling.
Showed strong mentality to step up and take the second spot-kick.
Conor Gallagher (on for Felix, 67’) – 7
Full of energy and aggression after being sent on to shore things up.
The midfielder would have added a third goal after tapping in from Sterling’s square ball but the winger was just offside before playing the cross.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (on for Kovacic, 82’) – 6
Added a bit more muscle to the Chelsea midfield as Dortmund threw everything at them for a late goal to level the tie.
Christian Pulisic (on for Sterling, 82’) – 6
Offered pace to get away and ease the pressure late on but also chipped in to get back and defend against his former club.
Denis Zakaria (on for Fernandez, 87’) – 6
Wasted some time by being sent on and made a couple of crucial interventions to break Dortmund up late on.