Michy Batshuayi scored his fifth goal in three Borussia Dortmund games as he continues to make an instant impression for his new club. But BVB still have work to do to qualify ahead of their assured opponents from Italy.
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Atalanta
(Schürrle 30', Batshuayi 65', 90'+1 — Ilicic 51', 56')
Michy Batshuayi scored two second half goals, including an injury-time winner, to give Dortmund the edge in their last 32 Europa League clash with Italian side Atalanta.
Having dropped out of the Champions League after failing to win a game, Dortmund started their Europa League campaign in more positive fashion, with Marco Reus going close before Andre Schürrle poked the ball home to give them the lead after half an hour.
Dortmund appeared to have the game under control, but Atalanta started the second half strongly and scored six minutes after the break when Jeremy Toljan hopelessly misjudged a cross from the left and Josip Ilicic bent in a superb shot from a tight angle.
Dortmund were on the ropes and struggled to regain their composure before Ilicic struck again for Atalanta only five minutes later. This time Dortmund keeper Roman Bürki was to blame, parrying a shot into the path of the forward, who made no mistake with the simplest of finishes.
But Michy Batshuayi, the loan signing from Chelsea who has hit the ground running since scoring two on his debut at Cologne in the Bundesliga and another at Hamburg a week later, had the final say again here, twice combining with substitute Mario Götze to find the net.
Batshuayi’s first — his first European goals at Signal Iduna Park — was a sensational strike from distance after collecting a pass from Götze. His second came in injury time when Götze’s clever pass found the Belgian, whose clinical finish raised the roof in Dortmund and, despite Atalanta’s two away goals, tilted the scales Dortmund’s way.
As it happened:
FULL-TIME - Borussua Dortmund 3-2 Atalanta Bergamo
At the end of a rollercoaster Europa League last-32 first leg, Borussia Dortmund have a 3-2 lead to take to Italy, thanks to Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian striker will rightly take the plaudits for his brace, but Mario Götze and André Schürrle were also key architects of Dortmund's win, both showing a great range of movement and passes.
On the downside for Dortmund, Peter Stöger will be unhappy that his side completely switched off for 15 minutes after the half-time break, their complaceny allowing Josip Ilicic to temporarily put Atalanta 2-1 ahead and, more importantly, give them two vital away goals. There's all to play for in northern Italy next week.
90+1' GOAL! Dortmund 3-2 Atalanta (Batshuayi)
Piszczek's cross is cleared and falls to Götze on the edge of the box. The German immediately and instinctively stabs a gentle pass into Batshuayi who takes one touch to turn and a second to finish. Lovely goal, and was that the winner for Dortmund?
90+1' FOUR MINUTES OF ADDED TIME
88' Atalanta sub: Double goalscorer Josip Ilicic is replaced by fellow striker Petagna. Fresh legs up front, so Dortmund will have to watch out.
87' Mahmoud Dahoud with a pass to no-one. The crowd groans but Dahoud motions that he expected Isak to make a move. Not quite in tune with each other, those two.
85' BVB sub: Alexander Isak replaces Christian Pulisic, meaning Dortmund have a front three of Isak, Batshuayi and Schürrle, with Götze and Dahoud in behind them as they chase a winner.
85' Atalanta sub: Caldara can't continue after that Batshuayi challenge and is replaced by Palomino.
84' Sokratis' cross from deep finds Götze at the back post but he can't make anything of it.
83' Batshuayi is shown a yellow card for kicking Caldara in the face. That seems fair enough; there's blood everywhere.
81' BVB sub: Julian Weigl is replaced by Mahmoud Dahoud
80' Schürrle marauds inside before finding Pulisic on the right wing. The American appears to be completely taken out by substitute Gosens but the referee gives a corner. That looked like a certain free-kick to me and maybe even a card, but what do I know?
77' Atalanta sub: German defender Robin Gosens, who was on Borussia Dortmund's books at one point, replaces Alejandro Gomez. A defensive change for the Italians.
73' A brilliantly timed tackle from Sokratis wins the ball back and Greek defender drives forward with the ball himself, the crowd roaring their approval. But when the ball falls to Pulisic in the box, he can't finish. "Borussia! Borussia!" chants the Yellow Wall.
71' Dortmund have laid siege to the Atalanta box since the goal, with Mario Götze heavily involved.
67' Pulisic skips into the box, leaving his man for dead, but his shot is saved! Borussia Dortmund have woken up again and the Sübtribüne is rocking.
65' GOAL! Dortmund 2-2 Atalanta (Batshuayi)
A fantastic goal! Schürrle and Gomez combine with a series of one-twos in the build-up before feeding Batshuayi. The Belgian takes a touch and fires an unstoppable rocket into the top corner! Game on!
62' Mario Götze replaces Marco Reus, who has another hour's football under his belt following his long lay-off.
60' Wow, what a start to the second half in Dortmund. The home team had been in almost total control in the first half but two goals in five minutes from Josip Ilicic have turned the tables in the visitors' favor. On the Dortmund bench, Mario Götze is stripping off ...
56' GOAL! Dortmund 1-2 Atalanta (Ilicic)
Bürki parries Cristante's effort away but only into the path of Ilicic, who beats Toljan to the rebound to put the Italians ahead! What a turn-around!
53' Ilicic goes to ground under Toprak's challenge and Dortmund are fortunate that referee Daniel Stefanski doesn't point to the spot ...
51' GOAL! Dortmund 1-1 Atalanta (Ilicic)
Jeremy Toljan has no idea that Josip Ilicic is behind him as the cross comes in from the left! The Slovenian controls impeccably with his right and curls past Bürki from a tight angle with his left. Poor defending, lovely finish. Atalanta have an invaluable away goal and the blue smoke bombs are set off in the away end.
Josip Ilicic places the ball beyong Roman Bürki for Atalanta's equalizer. He then put them ahead five minutes later.
50' Toljan brings the ball forward over the half-way line from left-back and motions with his arms as if to say: "Where are my options?" No movement up front.
49' Atalanta win the ball back high up the pitch and have numbers up, but they over-complicate things and Dortmund clear.
47' Christian Pulisic tries to spark a Dortmund attack down the right but he runs the ball out of play. Fair to say it's not really been clicking for the American in recent weeks.
Both teams are unchanged as Dortmund kick-off the second half, now kicking towards the Yellow Wall.
HALF-TIME - Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Atalanta Bergamo
All in all, a satisfactory first half from the Black & Yellows. André Schürrle has continued his good form of recent weeks and has been rewarded with a goal, although credit must also go to Michy Batshuayi who tracked back to win the ball and start the move, and Luksaz Piszczek whose cross was perfect.
Marco Reus has also been involved and should really have given Dortmund the lead early on.
At the other end, Atalanta are proving to be anything but a typically defensive Italian team, and Josip Ilicic and Alejandro Gomez have provided a threat down the right hand side.
43' Another half chance for Atalanta as they again advance down the right but, despite beating his man, Ilicic's cross is too hard and too high for any of his teammates.
41' Ilicic tries a lob from distance (perhaps he's been watching videos of Freiburg's Nils Petersen!?) but Bürki deals with this one!
36' Toljan heads behind for an Atalanta corner ... Ilicic's cross is cleared at the near post, as is Gomez's follow-up. Spinazzola wins another corner ... This one is caught - at the second attempt! - by Bürki.
33' Piszczek also goes into the book for a challenge on Gomez.
30' GOAL! Dortmund 1-0 Atalanta (Schürrle)
Batshuayi tracks back to win the ball in midfield and finds Lukasz Piszczek on the right. The Pole then delivers an inch-perfect cross to Schürrle who takes a touch and pokes it past Berisha to put Dortmund 1-0 up. It's been coming!
30' Ilicic beats Toljan inside the Dortmund box but his cross is poor.
28' Good save! Schürrle forces a good stop from Berisha with another long-range effort. Meanwhile, Gonzalo Castro is down injured after what looked like a bit of a stamp on his leg ... he's back up now but Atalanta are perhaps lucky the referee didn't see that.
26' Yellow cards piling up now. First, Weigl goes into the book for illegally halting Gomez and will miss the return leg. Then Cristante is booked for a foul on Toprak.
24' So close! Batshuayi shields the ball well in the box before flicking the ball on to the overlapping Reus whose cross somehow slips underneath Pulisic, two yards out with the goal gaping.
22' Weigl pounces on a loose ball in midfield and Dortmund break with Batshuayi. The Belgian cuts in from the left wing and could play in Pulisic in yards of space in the box but he opts to shoot - straight at Berisha. Another big chance for BVB.
20' A needlessly aggressive tackle from Toprak results in an Atalanta free-kick in a dangerous position ... but it's well defended.
19' Gomez shoots just over for Atalanta! He claims it took a deflection off Sokratis ... and he may have a point. But the referee gives a goal kick.
17' POST! Schürrle lets fly from outside the box but his shot is deflected onto the post and out for a corner - which Berisha claims.
15' Possession for Borussia Dortmund is whistled loudly by the travelling Italian contingent, accompanied by an audible groan from the home fans as the ball is played back to Roman Bürki. But Atalanta didn't really give Dortmund anywhere else to go.
13' And now the first real chance for Atalanta! They break down the right with Ilicic who feeds Cristante but his shot is deflected over for a corner. From the corner, center-back Caldara throws himself towards the ball in the six yard box but it just evades him!
10' First semblance of an opportunity for Atalanta as Gomez crosses, but Bürki is well positioned to scoop it up.
9' Dortmund's pressing game is starting to take effect, forcing the Italians into errors. Once in possession, Reus plays it out to Schürrle on the left, but his cross is cleared away, with Batshuayi lurking.
6' First big chance for Dortmund! André Schürrle plays in Marco Reus who shoots wide when one-on-one. He really should have opened the scoring for BVB there.
4' Atalanta aren't just sitting back here. They're getting in Dortmund's face and have a spell of possession of their own, until they play the ball out of play.
The visitors, all in white with blue trim, get us underway, playing towards the famous Südtribüne.
Atalanta team news:
The visitors in Dortmund tonight line up as follows:
Berisha; Toloi, Caldara, Masiello; Hateboer, de Roon, Freuler, Spinazzola; Cristante; Iličić, Gomez
Atalanta play in a well-drilled 3-5-2 formation, while midfielder Bryan Cristante has scored ten goals in all competitions. His more defensive-minded midfield partner Remo Freuler protects the three-man defense.
BVB team news:
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Gonzalo Castro return to the starting line-up for BVB following Saturday's win over Hamburg, while Marco Reus starts for the second game in succession. "Marco says he's feeling physically strong so it would make sense to find a place for a player such as him in any team," says coach Peter Stöger.
Mario Götze, however, drops to the bench, with Stöger saying: "The question is just how offensive we can afford to be, and what options we have from the bench. At some point in the season, we want to try out a formation with both of them [Reus & Götze]."
Good evening and welcome to this evening's live coverage of Borussia Dortmund vs. Atalanta Bergamo
After exiting the Champions League without a single win, Borussia Dortmund's international hopes now lie in the Europa League. It's a long road to the final in Lyon - four tiring knock-out rounds criss-crossing the entire continent - but it's a competition that the storied club have yet to win.
There are some big names in the competition too: Arsenal, AC Milan, Napoli, Lyon. But in Atalanta Bergamo, BVB appear to have avoided the toughest tests - on paper at least.
Atalanta topped a group which included Everton and Lyon to reach this stage and have recorded some impressive results in Serie A, including draws with Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio and a famous victory away victory over Roma - leaving them eighth in the league.