Kai Havertz sends message to Chelsea team-mates after Champions League progress
Kai Havertz called on his Chelsea team-mates to prove their determination to win a second Champions League title in three years after his twice-taken penalty earned a way past Borussia Dortmund.
Graham Potter’s side recovered from a goal down after the first leg in Germany to end the Bundesliga side’s 10-game winning run and progress to next month’s quarter-final.
Havertz saw his second-half kick strike a post after Marius Wolf had handballed, but was reprieved when the VAR ruled that Dortmund players had encroached into the area.
The 23-year-old, who scored the winning goal in the final when Chelsea last won the tournament under former boss Thomas Tuchel in 2021, used the same paused run-up technique and put the ball towards the same corner, this time angling it inside the post to turn the direction of the tie.
Chelsea put in the best performance of Potter’s reign to relieve the pressure that had mounted on him during a difficult spell, with Saturday’s unconvincing 1-0 win over Leeds just their third victory in 15.
Still it took two contentious decisions – the penalty award and the re-take, both of which were strongly contested by Dortmund – to get the team over the line.
“The referee let me retake it, so I was a bit nervous,” said Havertz. “In the end I scored and that’s the most important thing.
“I tried to wait, to look at the keeper. I saw he was going to go again to the same side, so that made it a bit easier.
“We have to build. The last two weeks, we lost a lot of games. Today was important because we know the Champions League is an important tournament, the last one we’re in. We have to give everything for it. We showed character, showed we want to win this competition again.”
The Blues already led on the night through Raheem Sterling’s strike late in the first half, the goal coming after a show of strength from Mateo Kovacic in midfield to release Ben Chilwell, whose cross was converted by Sterling at the second attempt.
“I see Kai shoot penalties a lot in training and I was so confident he would put it in the back of the net,” said Sterling.“The first one he knew exactly what he was doing and we were confident again.”
Potter, whose future hung in the balance ahead of the Leeds match, with some reports suggesting he had two games to save his job, could not watch Havertz’s second kick, looking straight down at the ground as his side took the lead in the tie.
“To win a game to go into the last eight of the Champions League, you’d have to say it’s up there in terms of wins and evenings in my career,” said Potter. “I watched the first penalty, that didn’t work so well.
“Second one I looked at the floor and waited for the crowd to make a noise. It was down to Kai’s personality. Kai’s temperament is at a very high level.”