Borussia Dortmund scored on either side of half-time to see off injury-hit Newcastle United 2-0 at Signal Iduna Park and seize control of the top spot in the Champions League Group F.
The Magpies took to the field significantly weakened, which inevitably influenced their rather underwhelming performance, especially in the first half.
Dortmund dominated proceedings from the outset, asserting control of the possession and pinning Newcastle to their opening third, though chances were hard to come by.
Niclas Fullkrug had the first decent opportunity, riffling the ball from the edge of the box toward the bottom corner, but Nick Pope pulled off an exquisite save to parry his shot away.
The English goalkeeper had to make another massive stop to thwart Karim Adeyemi’s well-taken half-volley and keep Newcastle afloat a few minutes later.
However, there was no salvation for the Premier League side in the 26th minute.
Dortmund performed a devastating counter-attack, with Marcel Sabitzer’s cross across the face of goal finding Fullkrug unmarked inside the six-yard box. The German tapped the ball into the net to break the deadlock.
Newcastle started to show signs of life after falling behind. But despite gaining a foothold in the game, Howe’s side heavily relied on set pieces as they struggled to create chances from open play.
The closest they came to finding a breakthrough was on the stroke of half-time when Joelinton headed the ball goalwards. Unfortunately, Gregor Kobel made a comfortable save to keep Dortmund in front.
Aware of his side’s below-par showing, Howe reached out to his bench at the start of the second half, introducing Anthony Gordon and Miguel Almiron at the expense of Callum Wilson and Lewis Hall, respectively.
But Dortmund had the first opening after the break as Julian Brandt’s thunderous strike from mid-range forced Pope into another spectacular diving save.
Missed opportunities almost backfired on Dortmund in the 56th minute. Joelinton got his towering close-range header on the end of Kieran Trippier’s teasing cross but failed to hit the target.
When it looked like Newcastle were gaining control of the game, Dortmund hit them on a lightning-fast counter.
Kieran Trippier’s poorly taken cross opened acres of space for Edin Terzic’s side to exploit, with Adeyemi picking out Brandt at the halfway line.
The German still had a lot to do, but in a two-v-one situation, he opted to go for glory himself and drilled a low effort into the far bottom corner to put the game to bed in the 79th minute.
With too little time left on the clock, Newcastle seemingly gave up their hopes of avoiding defeat at Signal Iduna Park, allowing Dortmund to close the match without much fuss.
Borussia Dortmund vs Newcastle United Player Ratings
Gregor Kobel (8/10) – Made several decent saves to help Dortmund weather the storm, especially at the start of the second half.
Julian Ryerson (7/10) – Took full advantage of Tino Livramento’s lack of attacking potential to push forward.
Nico Schlotterbeck (7/10) – Kept it simple, made no-nonsense clearances and refused to take risks with the ball at his feet.
Mats Hummels (8/10) – Did his defensive job to a tee, keeping Wilson in his back pocket in the first half and continuing to frustrate Newcastle forwards after the break.
Niklas Sule (7/10) – You’d expect him to struggle against Gordon’s pace and Joelinton’s tricky feet, but he stood his ground tonight.
Salih Ozcan (7/10) – Neglected his offensive duties but wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, providing an extra layer of cover to his backline.
Marcel Sabitzer (8/10) – Used all of his experience to help Dortmund win the midfield battle.
Felix Nmecha (6/10) – Not as decisive as in the reverse fixture, but still made his attacking presence felt with clever movements between the lines.
Julian Brandt (9/10) – Was at the thick of his side’s every attacking movement and got rewarded for an impressive showing with a beautiful solo goal to put daylight between the sides.
Karim Adeyemi (7/10) – One of the best tonight, albeit his unwillingness to play the ball to his teammates ruined several promising opportunities for Dortmund.
Niclas Fullkrug (8/10) – Slotted the ball home from a couple of yards out and had two more decent chances to add to his tally. But Pope came out on top each time.
Marko Reus (5/10)
Youssoufa Moukoko – N/A
Nick Pope (8/10) – Another astonishing European night for the Englishman, who was the only reason Newcastle stayed in the game.
Kieran Trippier (6/10) – Had numerous useless set-piece attempts and failed to deal with Adeyemi’s pace.
Fabian Schar (5/10) – Fullkrug gave him a slip to open the scoring. Brandt and Adeyemi also made him suffer.
Jamaal Lascelles (7/10) – Did much better than his defensive colleague. Won almost every aerial duel.
Lewis Hall (5/10) – Picked up an early booking on his Champions League debut and looked in discomfort the entire first half.
Joe Willock (6/10) – Newcastle’s liveliest performer in the first half. Despite showing plenty of ambition in the front third, had nothing to show for it.
Bruno Guimaraes (5/10) – Not one of his most inspiring nights in the Newcastle shirt. Looked frustrated for a large chunk of the game.
Sean Longstaff (4/10) – Part of the reason the Magpies spent most of the match on the back foot. Lost the midfield battle to Sabitzer and Nmecha.
Joelinton (6/10) – Unlucky to have missed the target from point-blank. One of Newcastle’s brightest spots this evening, but couldn’t find the final touch.
Tino Livramento (7/10) – Despite being fielded as a winger, his best work came at the back. Made numerous crucial tackles and interceptions.
Callum Wilson (3/10) – A near-anonymous performance from the star striker. Barely had any impact on the game. No wonder Howe took him off at half-time.
Anthony Gordon (6/10)
Miguel Almiron (6/10)
Lewis Miley – N/A
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