Aubameyang celebrated his match-winning hat-trick by performing a flip in front of his delighted home supporters
Throughout this season, there have been two Borussia Dortmunds. There has been the confused, stilted, inefficient one. Then there has been the exhilarating, ruthless, unstoppable one. Benfica have now met both.
Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic saw Dortmund overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg and waltz into the Champions League quarter-finals against Benfica on Wednesday night.
Aubameyang was back to his predatory best, poaching three goals from close range. US international Pulisic provided Dortmund’s second with a delightful chip over the goalkeeper.
Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring the third of his three goals on Wednesday
Aubameyang (centre) headed home at the back post after a corner was flicked on by Christian Pulisic in the fourth minute
Marcel Schmelzer fired a precise cross into the six-yard box where Aubameyang was waiting to tuck home his second
The Gabonese (right) forward got his third in the closing stages after finishing clinically from Erik Durm’s cross
The German embraced as they booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a brilliant performance
Borussia Dortmund: Burki 6, Bartra 7, Sokratis 6 (Ginter 88), Piszczek 7, Schmelzer 7, Durm 6, Weigl 8, Castro 6, Dembele 7 (Kagawa 81), Pulisic 8, Aubameyang 9 (Schurrle 86)
Subs not used: Weidenfeller, Guerreiro, Merino, Passlack
Goals: Aubameyang 4, 61, 85, Pulisic 59
Booked: Piszczek, Dembele, Castro
Benfica: Ederson 8, Eliseu 5, Lindelof 6, Luisao 6, Semedo 4, Pizzi 7, Samaris 6 (Zivkovic 74), Almeida 5, Salvio 5 (Jonas 64), Cervi 6 (Jiminez 82), Mitroglou 3
Subs not used: Cesar, Horta, Jimenez (for Cervi, 82′), Andre Carrillo, Jardel
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Dominant in the opening exchanges, Dortmund had to fight against a resilient Benfica outfit for much of the game, but they turned on the style in the second half. This was the Borussia Dortmund which doesn’t just beat teams, it beats them with a swagger.
After an unhappy performance in the first leg, Dortmund had resdicovered that swagger with three Bundesliga wins in a row ahead of this game. The only dampener in the build-up was the latest injury to star attacker Marco Reus.
With Reus absent, some had questioned whether youngster Ousmane Dembele would be able to step up to the big occasion. He delivered an answer in the opening ten minutes, leading the charge as Dortmund terrorised the Benfica defence in the opening encounters.
The Belgian’s moment came after just four minutes. After forcing a corner with a sharp attack down the left, Dembele’s delivery was flicked on by Pulisic and Aubameyang headed the ball in at the far post.
This was the start that Thomas Tuchel had imagined when he demanded his team forget the result of the first leg. Dortmund were enjoying themselves, finding space on the wings and behind the Benfica back line. With 20 minutes gone, Dortmund were purring.
Blunt on the counter-attack, it wasn’t until the 24th minute that Benfica began to build any pressure themselves, Franco Cervi finding space in the box but hitting a weak shot straight at Burki.
Dortmund’s famous ‘Yellow Wall’ were at their brilliant best as they displayed a variety of banners prior to kick-off
Aubameyang (centre) was in the right place at the right time to bring the two-leg tie level in the opening minutes
The Gabonese forward wheels away after heading his team’s crucial opening goal at the Signal Iduna Park
Aubameyang (2nd right) is congratulated by team-mates Lukasz Piszczek (right) and Sokratis (left) after his headed effort
Ederson Moraes (left) flings himself across the goal to parry Aubameyang’s (centre) effort from point-blank range
The visitors got another chance just after the half hour mark after Gonzalo Castro gave away a free-kick with a dangerous lunge on Almeida. Castro escaped with a yellow card, and Dortmund with a weak Luisao header. But the home side had been unsettled. With a determined, scrappy approach, the visitors had blunted Dortmund’s early swagger.
Dembele was the next to see yellow, Martin Atkinson apparently punishing him for dissent after a soft challenge on Eliseu. As Almeida and Pizzi took control of the midfield scraps, the home crowd began to turn on Atkinson and the Benfica players, snarling even more when the English official ignored a penalty appeal just before half time.
Both Cervi and Aubameyang had chances at either end just after the break. With the game opening up, the Gabonese striker was twice denied from close range by Ederson, the linesman’s flag going up on both occasions.
Christian Pulisic (left) produced a wonderful clipped finish after a sublime through ball from Lukasz Piszczek
Pulisic (left) watches on as his effort heads towards goal on the way to giving his side the lead in the last-16 match
Pulisic (right) is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring his side’s second goal of the Champions League clash
It was Pulisic who finally broke through just before the hour mark. After Ederson had denied Aubameyang for a third time, a fine through ball from Piszczek found the American in the box, and he daintily lobbed the goalkeeper to double the lead.
The swagger was back. Aubameyang struck again moments later, slotting in a Marcel Schmelzer cross to make it 3-0. Five minutes later, Castro could have made it four as the scent of blood wafted up Dortmund nostrils.
Aubameyang would be replaced by Andre Schurrle for the last few minutes, but not before he had completed his hat-trick, picking up a low cross at the far post and bundling the ball elegantly into the net with his first touch.
The hat-trick hero swaggered off the pitch. Given the choice between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, he and his team had chosen well. They had won 4-0, and they were in the quarter finals.
Aubameyang (left) added two more in the second half to put the result beyond doubt in Dortmund, Germany
Aubameyang (right) was all smiles as he went home with the match ball at the end of a fantastic night for his team
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4295022/Borussia-Dortmund-4-0-Benfica-agg-4-1-Report.html#ixzz4amJwM1Pi
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