DORTMUND, Germany (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund brushed off their nightmare Bundesliga form to maintain their perfect Champions League record and book their place in the knockout phase with Tuesday’s 4-1 rout of Galatasaray.
Dortmund are second from bottom of the German top flight following the worst start to a season in the club’s history and have lost their last five matches in a row, but are one of the first teams into the last 16 in Europe’s elite club competition.
Borussia remain top of Group D with four wins from four and posted another convincing victory against Cesare Prandelli’s Galatasaray having won 4-0 in Istanbul a fortnight ago.
Arsenal’s 3-3 draw at home to Anderlecht leaves Dortmund five points clear of the Gunners atop the table and odds-on to finish as group winners.
Bizarrely, Dortmund have now picked up nearly double the points, 12, in their four Champions League matches than the seven they have from their 10 Bundesliga matches.
The game was held up twice in the second half by crowd trouble as Galatasaray fans threw fireworks onto the pitch, then set off a flare in the stands in the closing few minutes.
Goals either side of half-time from Marco Reus and Greece defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos put 2013 Champions League finalists Dortmund on their way to the knockout phase.
Galatasaray’s Berlin-born defender Hakan Balta pulled one back for the visitors midway through the second half before the hosts scored twice more to put the result beyond doubt.
Italy striker Ciro Immobile netted Dortmund’s third just three minutes and 26 seconds after coming off the bench to calm the hosts’ nerves after a period of sustained Galatasaray pressure.
Immobile then compounded Galatasaray’s misery when his cross was deflected into the back of the Turkish giants’ net by defender Semih Kaya.