Fullkrug and Brandt secure hosts’ UEFA Champions League win

Julian Brandt of Dortmund (R) celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal with Felix Nmecha (L) during the UEFA Champions League match between Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United at Signal Iduna Park.

A goal from Niclas Fullkrug – at 30, his first in the Champions League – and another from the excellent Julian Brandt – secured Dortmund a deserved double over Newcastle. They lead Group F by a point from Paris Saint-Germain, who play later tonight, and one win from their final two games will give them an unassailable lead over tonight’s opponents – who know that maximum points might still not be enough.

Still smarting following their weekend Klassiker humiliation, Dortmund started well without creating much, while Newcastle looked like they had not shaken off the physical and mental dump beating Arsenal must have left them with.

It was not, though, until the 26th minute that the balance of play was reflected by the score, Newcastle spurning various chances to clear the ball before Fullkrug eased home a decent finish.

Eddie Howe brought on Miguel Almiron and Anthony Gordon for the second half and Newcastle started it well, but on 56 minutes, Joelinton missed a header he could almost have blown in and his team struggled to create thereafter.

They did, though, force a succession of dangerous set-pieces, none of which created anything, then on 79 minutes, the excellent Karim Adeyemi swept one clear, Julian Brandt ran through, and using Marcel Sabitzer as a decoy, he swept a terrific finish across Nick Pope and into the far corner to settle the match.

Newcastle huffed and puffed thereafter, but they knew the game was up and now face a struggle not just to qualify but to hang onto the Europa League spot they currently occupy. With Alexander Isak, Dan Burn, Sven Botman, Elliot Anderson, Harvey Barnes, and Jacob Murphy injured, and Sandro Tonali suspended, Eddie Howe has work to do – and lots of it.

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