By 90Min
March 15, 2018

Red Bull Salzburg ended Borussia Dortmund's hopes of European silverware, as they pulled off a well-deserved goalless draw - a 2-1 win on aggregate - at home and became the first Austrian side to have ever reached the quarter finals of the Europa League.

The Austrian champions stayed robust at the back, but weren't afraid to threaten Dortmund's backline, giving the fans at their sold out Red Bull Arena Salzburg plenty to shout about.

The Bundesliga outfit had a proverbial mountain to climb after losing 2-1 at home to the Austrian champions in the first leg of the tie. Many expected the Germans to bring their a-game, however, they departed the competition with barely a whimper.

Dortmund were screaming out for Christian Pulisic's creativity - who had five assists in 11 appearances in all competitions in 2018 - but the American was sidelined due to illness.

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Salzburg started the game with persistence, energy and industry, driving at the Dortmund defence constantly and barely offering them a single moment to catch their breath. It was expected that the high-octane Austrian side would favour a more watchful, defensive game plan, but that looked far from the case during the opening exchanges.

True to type, the Austrian outfit forced an error from Dortmund's French centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou in the sixth minute of the game, with Hee Chan Hwang pinching the ball from the 18-year-old and going through on goal, however, a strong save from Burki denied the South Korean.

Dortmund put Salzburg under pressure shortly afterwards, favouring a wide game and fizzing crosses across the home side's box. The intent was there, with some threatening patterns of play developing between Marcel Schmelzer and André Schürrle on the lefthand side, but they were soon sniffed out by Salzburg.

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If a player could be named man of the half, that accolade would be handed to Dortmund keeper Roman Bürki. Half an hour into the game and the shot-stopper was called into action yet again, pulling off a fine save to deny attacking midfielder Xaver Schlager's low whipping shot to the keeper's right after the Austrians wove through a sea of yellow and black shirts.

Shortly after that, Salzburg's Valon Berisha hit what was assumed to be a cross but swerved in mid air into a shot, forcing Burki to make yet another heroic save.


The second half saw a double substitution from Dortmund, with manager Peter Stöger boldy bringing off Marco Reus and Mario Gotze for Alexander Isak and Maximilian Philipp. The team switched to a 4-4-2 formation, with Isak joining Michy Batshuayi up top. Philipp made an immediate impression, forcing a save from Salzburg's Walke after just five minutes.

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55 minutes into the game and Salzburg looked to continue with their effervescent attacking play, with a nice sequence of passing play culminating in a rash shot by Berisha. It was ultimately toothless, but the Austrian team looked intent on reaching the quarter finals of the competition.


In a final roll of the dice Stöger switched Gonzalo Castro for Raphaël Guerreiro in the 62nd minute, looking to add some pep to Die Schwazgelben's attack. In reply, Marco Rose brought on Norwegian forward Fredrik Gulbrandsen shortly after, who replaced a yellow carded Hwang.


Dortmund started ramping up the pressure with twenty minutes to go with Philippe and Izak hitting two shots on target, but both were kept out by some astute goalkeeping and defensive work from Salzburg. The German team were finally starting to purr, but it appeared to be a case of too little too late.


Salzburg's Schalger and Haidara were brought off for Yabo and Wolf in the 80th minute to shore up the Austrian side's defence, which proved productive and saw the team pull off a huge victory, and could potentially lineup a Red Bull derby between Leipzig and Salzburg in the quarter final.

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