Stevan Jovetic’s third hat-trick of the season saw Borussia Dortmund take a big step towards a likely last sixteen tie against Ajax with a comfortable 4-2 win at Belgian champions Anderlecht tonight, in which former RSCA players Dennis Praet and Samy Bourard featured.
With both sides going into the match at the top of their domestic leagues as champions last season, sporting impressive unbeaten runs, and both having been eliminated from the Champions League at the Group Stage, something had to give at Stade Constant Vanden Stock and it was Anderlecht who blinked first.
Stevan Jovetic was played onside by a wonky home backline and he drilled BVB in front inside two minutes, before André Schürrle doubled the lead just five minutes later from Jovetic’s cut-back. He then won a penalty on the half hour that Jovetic converted, and the tie looked as good as over.
Tom de Sutter lashed in a dipping half-volley right before the break past a stranded Roman Weidenfeller – back in the starting XI after requesting a transfer, a change which manager Surman was always planning to make – to give the home side hope.
Eight minutes after the interval, with RSCA having made all three of their changes already, May Mahlangu hit a drive past Weidenfeller to see the tempo lift as the hosts were back in it at 2-3, but Jovetic completed his treble inside the final ten minutes to give BVB a foot in the next round.
There was some concern midway through the second-half when Marcel Schmelzer was carried off, but initial scans have shown that he has suffered a mildly bruised rib, and while he won’t take part in Sunday’s friendly in Chicago, he should be available for the return leg next Thursday.
The winners of the tie will play either Ajax or Zenit St Petersburg, with the Dutch side winning 3-0 in Amsterdam tonight thanks to a Siem de Jong brace and a late third from Lasse Schöne.
The Belgian league leaders and defending champions host their German counterparts in tonight’s Europa League match, after both sides were knocked-out of the Champions League Group Stage.
Anderlecht finished behind Chelsea and Lyon, while Dortmund were placed behind Valencia and other Belgian opposition in Standard Liege. Extra spice added to today’s fixture as Dortmund have signed three players from today’s opponents, with Dennis Praet starting and Samy Bourard on the bench. Hervé Matthys is out on loan at Darmstadt.
National journalist Mathis Bernard from Voetbalnieuws Belgium is with us and he says that, “Dortmund are on a high and that form should be enough to see them get a victory on the road today.”
Three changes for BVB, as Roman Weidenfeller starts just a day after his official transfer request, a decision that Gray Surman stated was already planned, and both full-backs change with Andreas Beck coming in for Julian Koch, and Marcel Schmelzer available to replace Cimo Röcker as his current suspension only applies domestically.
RSCA have eight consecutive home wins, while Dortmund are unbeaten in eleven competitive matches. Something’s got to give today, and the Spanish match officials are ready to get us underway!
 BVB captain Mats Hummels has won the toss, so it’s the home side who kick-off in the wet Brussels weather!
 Junior Caicara wins RSCA an early corner when his cross deflects behind off Hummels. Subotic makes a clearing header.
 ANDERLECHT 0-1 DORTMUND: The home defence look aghast at the Spanish linesman, but the flag stays down against Steven Jovetic after a ball from Schürrle. He times his run to perfection as Descacht steps-up too late, and drills a shot past Proto into the bottom corner. 105 seconds on the clock.
 Dos Santos has a crack from 25 yards but it’s always heading straight at Weidenfeller, who saves on his first start in nine matches.
 That was the first goal in the Europa League in 2015, with Rubin Kazan going ahead at home to Mainz shortly afterwards, and Villa now lead at Dynamo Kyiv.
 ANDERLECHT 0-2 DORTMUND: Scorer turns provider as Dortmund grab a second away goal. The referee plays a great advantage when Reus is fouled, letting Beck hit the ball forwards for Jovetic who gets to the goal line and pulls back for André Schürrle to slot home from twelve yards.
 Hummels heads away from his own goal line as Dos Santos puts in a curling cross that evades Weidenfeller.
 Sven Bender gets a talking to from the referee after he brings down Hazard. Anderlecht play the ball wide before putting in a cross for Texeira that Weidenfeller gathers.
 Dortmund break immediately, and only the faintest toe-touch from Juhász takes the ball away from Praet ten yards out.
 First corner for Dortmund as Praet buys the corner off Texeira. He’ll take it on his first return to this stadium since his move to Dortmund 18 months ago, but his delivery is cleared by Mbemba.
 PENALTY! André Schürrle gets into the box and plays a square ball to Jovetic. Juhász makes a challenge and as Schürrle beats Bangoura to the loose ball, he’s tripped by the midfielder right in front of the additional assistant.
 ANDERLECHT 0-3 DORTMUND: This could be a long night for the Belgian champions as Stevan Jovetic sends his spot-kick past Silvio Proto, finding the bottom corner from twelve yards out.
 Corner for Anderlecht, Hummels heads away before Caicara mis-hits a cross back into the box.
 Caicara’s driving run into the box wins RSCA another corner. There’s a ricochet or two in the box, but Dortmund get the ball away downfield through Sven Bender before Hazard blasts high and wide from distance.
 Jovetic scoops one over the bar from 20 yards before Praet has a go from similar range after Anderlecht lose possession from the restart, but it’s held by Proto.
 ANDERLECHT 1-3 DORTMUND: The home side get on the scoresheet through Tom de Sutter as he lashes a 20-yarder past Weidenfeller on the half-volley as Texeira flicks on a ball with his head. Lovely dipping finish into the far corner.
 Anderlecht are making a surprise change: Mario Holek is on for Caicara (5.6).
 One minute goes up on the board as Schürrle wins a corner, but could have had much more. Played in on a narrow angle by Jovetic but Deschacht gets a foot to his shot.
[45+1] De Sutter makes it another corner when he beats Subotic to the ball. The second delivery is cleared well into touch.
HALF-TIME: RSC Anderlecht 1-3 Borussia Dortmund (UEFA Europa League 1KO1).
[HT] The hosts have used both their remaining subs at the break. On come Ivan Stoyanov and Arjan Swinkels, replacing Lukaku (5.5) and Hazard (5.4).
[HT] Scores from around Europe in the other ties: Ajaz 0-0 Zenit, Celtic 1-0 Schalke (down to ten men), CSKA 0-0 Leverkusen, Dynamo Kyiv 1-3 Aston villa, Galatasaray 1-2 Lazio, Inter 1-1 Düsseldorf, Málaga 0-0 Fiorentina, Marítimo 1-1 Atletico Madrid, Olympiakos 1-0 Lisbon, Roma 0-2 Toulouse, Rubin 1-2 Mainz, Sion 0-2 Shakhtar, Spartak 0-1 Man City, Trabzonspor 1-1 Bordeux, Vitesse 1-0 Porto.
 Dortmund kick-off the second-half!
 Jovetic clips one over the bar from outside the box.
 Bangoura brings down Schmelzer on the left wing, but blocks Schürrle’s effort when the free-kick is played into him in the box.
 ANDERLECHT 2-3 DORTMUND: RSCA push forwards in numbers and it pays off as they get right back into this tie through May Mahlangu. Dos Santos finds Stoyanov on the overlap who crosses to the far post for Mahlangu to tuck home. Game on!
 Beck does well to beat two men down the right, but Proto slides to gather his low ball across goal ahead of Jovetic.
 Marcel Schmelzer makes a challenge on Stoyanov to put the ball behind for a corner, but his involvement in the match is over.
 Enforced first change for Dortmund: Schmelzer (7.0) is replaced by Julian Koch. Lars Bender heads away the corner at the restart.
 Koch’s first involvement is a challenge on Stoyanov which gives the hosts their fifth corner. RSCA throwing everyone forwards looking for a positive result.
 Marco Reus cuts inside the box ith a burst of pace before drawing a good save from Proto, and Dortmund win the corner. It’s cleared away by De Sutter at the far post.
 David Texeira is through one-on-one with Roman Weidenfeller as the flag inexplicably stays down, but the ‘keeper beats him to the ball and is clattered by the Anderlecht striker. Dortmund bench are up in arms.
 Change for Dortmund: Praet (7.1) is replaced by Viktor Fischer.
 Fischer wins a corner off Juhász. Five-all on that count now.
 ANDERLECHT 2-4 DORTMUND: It’s a hat-trick for Stevan Jovetic! Anderlecht don’t clear the corner, allowing Jovetic to lay it off to Fischer who returns a cute pass for the striker to hit a half-volley past Proto on a tight angle.
 Chancel Mbemba smashes a shot towards goal from by the goal line that Weidenfeller can only parry behind him, but captain Hummels is back to hack it away off the line.
 Samy Bourard makes his first senior appearance at this stadium, six months after a move from Anderlecht to Dortmund. He replaces Sven Bender (7.3).
 Stoyanov tests Weidenfeller with a curling 25-yard free-kick but the ‘keeper covers his ground and holds on.
 Silvio Proto makes a magnificent full-stretch, fingertip save to flick a Schürrle drive wide as he smashes a loose ball at goal when a Beck shot is blocked in the box.
 From the corner, Dortmund work the ball from one wing to another and again Schürrle stings Proto’s palms with a low 15-yard drive.
 Juhász and Proto don’t communicate as both attack a deep Schürrle cross towads Reus, and they have to scramble it away for a corner.
 Two additional minutes.
 Ajax look like the next round opponents for this tie’s winners as they’re now 3-0 in front against Zenit St Petersburg with Lasse Schöne adding to a Siem de Jong brace.
FULL-TIME: RSC Anderlecht 2-4 Borussia Dortmund (UEFA Europa League 1KO1). [PKM]
All over here and Stevan Jovetic’s third hat-trick of the season has proved a big step for Dortmund into the next round. The two goals they conceded will irk a little, but they looked comfortable throughout the match, and more than deserved to match the scoreline from when these two sides met in a friendly eighteen months ago. The second leg is next week, but a friendly in Chicago awaits before then.
- 26.02: Europa League 1KR(2) BVB v. RSC Anderlecht (Signal Iduna Park)
- 04.03: DFB-Pokal QF Bayer Leverkusen v. BVB (BayArena)
- 07.03: Bundesliga #24 Schalke v. BVB (Veltins-Arena)
- 11.03: Bundesliga #25 VfB Stuttgart v. BVB (Mercedes-Benz-Arena)
- 14.03: Bundesliga #26 BVB v. Fortuna Düsseldorf (Signal Iduna Park)