It’s been a long time awaiting the return of Marco Reus to the Borussia Dortmund team ever since his terrible injury occurred just weeks before the start of Euro 2016. But the German midfielder finally returned to the side on Tuesday and was back with a bang, scoring a hat-trick as Borussia Dortmund thrashed Polish champions Legia Warszawa by a score of 8-4. As has often been the case for Borussia Dortmund this season in the UEFA Champions League, everything they attempted to pull off worked out and resulted in a goal; while Thomas Tuchel’s squad rotation policy got the the best out of his players once again.
It was Aleksandar Prijovic who opened the scoring for Legia Warszawa giving Dortmund a brief scare with an incisive outside of the foot finish in the 10th minute of the match. But it wasn’t before long before Dortmund’s run of dominance on the ball led to them scoring their first goal of the night when Ousmane Dembele’s fantastic cross was headed home by Shinji Kagawa. Just minutes later Kagawa added his second of the night with a fine left footed finish again from a Ousmane Dembele pass. Not even two minutes after Shinji Kagawa had given Dortmund the lead, it was Nuri Sahin who added a third after Marco Reus’ free kick was punched out by the Legia goalkeeper right into the chest of Sahin and back into the net, giving the Turkish international his first ever Champions League goal. As the flurry of goals continued, Aleksandar Prijovic quickly added his second goal of the game to make the score 3-2 and not even 25 minutes of action had been played in the game. After being involved in everything good for the Black and Yellows inside the first thirty five minutes of the game, Ousmane Dembele would add his name to the scoresheet from a Marco Reus pass and then it would be Reus himself to find the back of the goal after an incredible series of passes from Sahin to Kagawa to Reus to the back of the net. Reus’ goal made the score 5-2 before half-time, the most goals ever scored in the first half of a UEFA Champions League match.
When Dortmund came out for the second half it was more of the same again as the Black and Yellows were still willing to be resilient in attack but continuing to crack under the pressure in defense. Captain fantastic and FIFA 17 cover model Marco Reus scored his second of the evening shortly after the second half began, making his return to the side a truly memorable one and extending his fantastic record as Dortmund’s highest ever goal scorer in European competitions. But to remind everyone yet again how rash and unstable Dortmund can be at the back at times, Michal Kucharczyk scored his first goal of the tournament with his second shot on goal in the match, beating Weidenfeller with another outside of the boot finish. You might have thought that Warsaw’s third goal of the night would finally make Thomas Tuchel’s side put their foot off the gas in attack, but the exact opposite ended up ringing true as the men in Yellow continued to attack with Aubameyang hitting the post and Felix Passlack grabbing his first goal in European football after Andre Schurrle’s shot was deflected right into the path of the onrushing fullback who headed it home for seven. But to continue the trend of goals being scored in quick succession, Nemanja Nikolic popped up just 8 minutes after coming on as a substitute to give his side their fourth goal of the night, the most goals they’ve ever scored in a UEFA Champions League match. Speaking of UCL goal records, with the last kick of the game, Marco Reus found his hat-trick after having his shot deflected through the legs of the now sorrowful Radoslaw Cierzniak, giving Dortmund an 8-4 victory and making this the most goals ever scored in a UEFA Champions League encounter.
In recent matches Thomas Tuchel has adopted the formation that is becoming more popular by the day in world football at the momnet, Guardiola’s 4-1-4-1. With a massively sized squad and a never-ending train of injuries, Tuchel has done fantastically well to rotate his squad throughout this season and every decision he seems to make in the Champions Leauge, no matter how out of left-field it is, has come off. Julian Weigl was brilliant in the last two matches against Sporting Lisbon, scoring his first ever goal for the club in the first of the two and being a dominant presence in the midfield as ever in the second, but he was rested for this match with Dortmund legend Nuri Sahin coming back into the fold instead. Shinji Kagawa also made a return to the side, knocking Mario Gotze out of the lineup despite his positive performance against Bayern Munich at the weekend while central midfielder Sebastian Rode made a surprise appearance in place of Lukasz Pisczcek at right fullback against the Polish giants. And of course, the moment he could get Marco Reus fit again, Tuchel was always going to put the German forward right back into the lineup and the manager’s decision to put him all alone up front instead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang worked out perfectly. Reus did not miss a beat against Legia, scoring three goals, assisting another and always looking full of energy and attacking intent. He emulated everything that African Footballer of the Year nominee Aubameyang has done up until this point this season so Dortmund fans will hardly be able to wait to get these two back in the same side again. All of these decisions paid off in the end as Dortmund climbed to a massive 8-4 victory and although the defense looked shaky again, you could not help but enjoy the willingness to go and attack from the Dortmund players, looking to grab a goal at every opportunity.
The one main worry for Dortmund is that with Roman Burki now out injured for the next month, 36-year old goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller is going to have fill the void instead. It’s no secret that the former-Dortmund captain is not the player he once was at the club and quite honestly, the German goalkeeper was dredful against Legia Warszawa, conceding more goals than he saved. However Sokratis’ certain return to the lineup next weekend should help Weidenfeller’s case to keep a clean sheet in Dortmund’s next Bundesliga match against Eintracht Frakfurt.
Although Dortmund’s defensive struggles continued on Tuesday night, their resilience in attack to score eight stunning goals proves again exactly why they are one of the best attacking units and exciting sides to watch in all of world football.
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