Robert Lewandowski gave an otherwise wasteful Borussia
Dortmund a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Ajax Amsterdam in their Champions
League opener on Tuesday to banish memories of last season's European
champions, looking to make an impact in Group D and in Europe after
winning consecutive Bundesliga titles, were frustrated by a tough Ajax
defence for much of the game and also saw Mats Hummels' 58th minute spot-kick saved.
Eager to forget
last term's woeful Champions League campaign, where they finished last
in their group, Dortmund kept pushing late in the game and were rewarded
with a master class in clinical finishing - something they had been
lacking for most of the game.
who had himself earlier squandered a close-range effort, made amends
with three minutes left when he controlled the ball in the box, turned
and fired past goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer.
with three points is something that gives us confidence," said forward
Marco Reus. "But we have to keep improving and there a lot of matches
still to come."
heavyweights Manchester City and Real Madrid also in the group and Real
winning their first encounter, Dortmund are hoping to crash the party
and finish in the top two to advance to the knockout stage.
With last season's group haul only amounting to four points, 1997 winners Dortmund will now hope to improve on that.
was an unbelievable game, a very intense one," said Dortmund coach
Jurgen Klopp. "We defended well over 90 minutes and constantly created
chances. It was a challenge to stay patient.
"The team has been developing well for some time now and we are continuing to do so. I am satisfied."
the BVB stadium's steep stands draped in a sea of yellow-clad fans and
with in-form Reus slipping back into the starting line-up, Dortmund shot
out of the blocks.
Ajax survived a couple of early scares when the hosts pressed high, winning possession but failing to finish their quick breaks.
was, however, the Dutch champions who had the first half's biggest
chance in the 12th minute with Ryan Babel racing clear and setting up
Christian Eriksen, whose effort was denied by keeper Roman Weidenfeller.
resuming his relationship with Ajax after spells at Liverpool and
Hoffenheim, continued being a threat but Dortmund gradually upped the
pace and threatened with shots from Lewandowski and Reus.
were rewarded for their offensive play when Mario Gotze was brought
down by Ricardo van Rhijn with a clumsy challenge but Germany defender
Hummels' weak, low spot-kick was easy work for Vermeer.
His blushes were later spared by his striker, who was left unmarked for too long in the box to drill in the winner.
"I told the boys they can be proud of the game they played," Ajax coach Frank de Boer told reporters.
need to be more cold-blooded. We failed to take the lead. We cannot
have chances like that and not take them. Not against teams like
Ajax next host Real on October 3 when Dortmund visit City.
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