Europa League: Late Marcel Schmelzer strike keeps Dortmund in Europe | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.02.2018
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Europa League: Late Marcel Schmelzer strike keeps Dortmund in Europe

Borussia Dortmund left it late but are into the last 16 of the Europa League. Having trailed for most of the game in Italy, captain Marcel Schmelzer's late strike earned a draw with Atalanta on a rainy night in Italy.

Atalanta 1-1 Borussia Dortmund, 3-4 on aggregate
(Toloi 11' — Schmelzer 83')

Marcel Schmelzer scored a vital late equalizer to send Borussia Dortmund into the last 16 of the Europa League.

Borussia Dortmund traveled to northern Italy to face an Atalanta side that sit eighth in Serie A but are without a win in their last three games, including the 3-2 defeat at Signal Iduna Park last week.

But the Italians got off to a flying start when Rafael Toloi took advantage after another mistake by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki in Europe this season. Bürki attempted to punch clear a corner, but missed the ball completely in the sodden conditions.

Read more: Jittery RB Leipzig hold off Napoli to reach last 16

Dortmund created a couple of chances in the first half with Mario Götze marginally offside before he put the ball in the net and Michy Batshuayi seeing a deflected shot squirm narrowly wide of the post.

But on the whole, this was a night when Dortmund struggled to create chances against an Atalanta side who were more than happy to absorb the pressure and take their chances on the break and at set pieces.

Peter Stöger threw on Marco Reus for the ineffective Christian Pulisic, who struggled to make an impact in his return to the starting line-up, and that swung the game in the visitors' favor.

Reus injected some much-needed energy and quality in the final third and he played a key role in the equalizer as his shot was spilled by goalkeeper Etrit Berisha and Schmelzer slid it in on the rebound, punishing a big miss by Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez a few minutes earlier.

For long periods this threatened to be another European night to forget for Dortmund, but with a little help from Reus and their captain, Schmelzer, the Bundesliga side's European journey continues.

As it happened:

FULL TIME Atalanta 1-1 Dortmund That's it, Dortmund are through to the last 16 after a late goal from Marcel Schmelzer. The goal arrived from Marco Reus's shot, who arrived off the bench to inspire this Dortmund team into action. Prior to his introduction the team looked quite lethargic in attack and vulnerable in defence. It's harsh on Atalanta, who played their gameplan almost to perfection, but it's Dortmund that progress 4-3 on aggregate.

90' Dortmund still on the attack and looking for a second, they don't know how to play any other way! Schmelzer is close to grabbing a brace but sees his shot saved for a corner.

83' GOAL! Atalanta 1-1 Dortmund Dortmund have equalized through substitute Marcel Schmelzer! Reus's shot skids off the turf and Berisha can't save it clean -  Schmelzer strides in to smash the ball into the net. Dortmund will go through 4-3 on aggregate if it stays like this.

81' Marco Reus with a great chance from about eight yards out, but Berisha stands tall and makes a great save! So close for Dortmund!!

80' Bürki keeps Dortmund in the tie with a tidy save from Alejandro Gomez! That was almost game over for the Bundesliga side.

76' Chance for Reus, he squirms himself back and forth to get room in the box and hits his across-the-goal shot wide. Again, it's just a half-chance for Dortmund, struggling to create meaningful opportunities. They have improved since Reus entered the pitch, though.

74' A half-chance for Batshuayi but he's surrounded by about five Atalanta bodies in the box. He does well to get a shot away but it's straight into Etrit Berisha's hands.

70' Atalanta still looking dangerous in attack. They are playing a smart game here, defending well and breaking when they can. 

61' Dangerous ball into the box with Dortmund's Piszczek lurking, but Leonardo Spinazzola makes a very timely clearance! Better sign here from Dortmund.

59' Reus has entered the fray! Dortmund's returning talisman was on the bench after playing three consecutive matches, but he's now replaced Pulisic. Can he prove to be the difference in this clash?

55' Dortmund just aren't looking at their best. Wasteful in possession, their passing percentage must be fairly ordinary, and quite nervy in defence. Atalanta are finding space when they attack and look dangerous. Wouldn't be a surprise if they score a second.

53' Dortmund slip up in possession and Atalanta are away, despite a 3 vs. 6 scenario the Italians are able to win a corner.

50' Atalanta with much of the ball, Josip Ilicic takes a long-range shot but it dribbles past Bürki's post.

46' We're off for the second period!

Dortmund have no chance but to attack in this second half and you'd expect them to grab a goal. But can they keep Atalanta from scoring again? Unlikely, based on the first-half performance, but you never know!

 Fußball, Europa League Atalanta Bergamo - Borussia Dortmund (imago/Eibner/Langer)

Dortmund's Mahmoud Dahoud chasing down Atalanta

45' HALFTIME — Atalanta finish the first period with 1-0 lead. Dortmund have had a few chances but look shaky at the back. They must score now to go through to the last 16.

40' Dortmund have had more control in the last 10 minutes or so but are yet to make too much inroads in the final third. 

34' Dortmund are growing into this game, at least offensively. Michy Batshuayi is the next to go close, his shot under pressure and off balance just trickling past Atalata's post.

33' Dortmund have the ball in the net! But Mario Götze is rightly called offside - a lovely ball over the defence and a great finish, but no equalizer for Dortmund.

31' Atalanta again split Dortmund's defence, but the offside flag is up.

27' More woeful defending from Dortmund. Christian Pulisic loses the ball in midfield and then Dortmund's defence are totally static as Bryan Cristante heads wide with Bürki stranded.

21' This tweet pretty much somes up some Dortmund fans' view on Roman Bürki, who was at fault for Atalanta's opening goal...

17' Sokratis is in the book for a tactical foul on Ilicic, who was leading a dangerous Atalanta counter-attack. Dortmund all over the place defensively, and it's not the first time we've said that about them in Europe this season.

11' GOAL! Atalanta 1-0 Dortmund — Toloi gives Atalanta the lead and Dortmund pay the price for more dodgy goalkeeping by Roman Bürki. It's now 3-3 on aggregate and Dortmund must score tonight to stay in the competition.

8' Encouraging signs early on for Dortmund though. The first goal here would leave Atalanta needing two of course.

6' Götze threads a nice pass through to Pulisic but the American is crowded out nefore he is able to get a shot away.

5' Almost an early chance for Dortmund as Pulisic digs out a good cross from the right for Batshuayi, but it's headed away by Caldara just before it reaches the Belgian.

3' Dortmund enjoying the best of the early exchanges. Taking the game to their Serie A opponents, despite the deafening whistles inside the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.

1' We're off!

20.55 History is on Dortmund's side.

20.45 Here's how the hosts line up...

20.40 Christian Pulisic makes his first start for Dortmund since the first leg, having been left out for the league win in Mönchengladbach last weekend. Marco Reus, who is still being eased back to regular action following that long injury lay-off, starts on the bench. 

20.35 Here's how Dortmund line up tonight:

20.30 CET Hello and welcome to live coverage of tonight's Europa League contest between Atalanta and Borussia Dortmund. The Bundesliga side hold a 3-2 advantage from the first leg, but could those two away goals prove costly? Stay here for the team news.

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