Despite all of the talent up front, the likes of Mario Gotze and Marco Reus rely on the excellent defending that hasn’t been a consistent part of the season Borussia Dortmund are having in the Bundesliga, but never seems to disappoint in the Champions League, thanks to a great job by Felipe Santana and Sven Bender.
Everything that Jurgen Klopp has been working on during his years at Dortmund came out firing perfectly in a stunning first half from Dortmund, who were also the better side in the 2-2 draw away from home. Shakhtar looked nothing like the side that played better in every single match during the group stage – a long winter break and giving up your best player is harsh on even the best of sides.
Sven Bender has missed too many matches this season for the Bundesliga champions, but when healthy and fit, like he was in the 3-0 win over Shakhtar, Dortmund can’t ask for a better defensive midfielder to simply eradicate any chance of attack or through ball the clumsy visitors tried to conjure. That allowed so much freedom for Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski up front, which resulted in two goals after the half hour mark.
There’s always the theory among Dortmund fans that Gotze should be starting for the national team, not Mesut Ozil. When you consider Marco Reus should be the automatic choice for the man on the left for Joachim Low at the moment, it seems only logical that playing Gotze, who has formed a brilliant partnership with Reus, will be the better choice when it’s national team time.
Gotze continued to flourish as the interest from outside Germany towards him and pretty much every talented player at Dortmund grows with every win. The big test for this team this summer will be their ability to remain a great team. Not too long ago, Klopp spoke about Dortmund’s need to retain its best players, not selling more than one player a season from their lineup. Robert Lewandowski seems to be the man who’s looking for an exit this summer, although it hasn’t hurt his league scoring for the most part.
Holding on to Mario Gotze, who is no longer the next best thing, just like Dortmund are much more than just a dark horse contender; they should be one of the favorites to win considering how they’ve played (still undefeated) in the Champions League this season, is the most important thing.