Borussia Dortmund have advanced to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League after an assured win over Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk. After drawing 2-2 in the first leg, and with both sides missing a key defender, there was some question of whether or not this match would be close, but BVB ran away with it early and never looked back.
The first sign of danger for Shakhtar came when Mario Götze played in Robert Lewandowski in the 12th minute, and only a last-gasp combined effort from Olexandr Kucher and Andriy Pyatov managed to keep the dangerous striker at bay. But that was only repreive. On the half-hour mark, BVB struck. Felipe Santana wasn't even supposed to be in the lineup -- the centre back was standing in for the injured Mats Hummels. But that didn't stop him from making a major impact, evading his marker to power home Götze's corner to open the scoring.
A defensive meltdown made matters worse seven minutes later. With Lewandowski on the ball wide right and only Götze to aim at in the box, there should have been no chance of a Dortmund goal, but somehow the striker's low cross evaded everyone but the 20-year-old, who flicked into Pyatov's bottom corner via a slight deflection. Lewandowski should have made to 3-0 himself, but he delayed his shot for far too long and the opportunity to completely bury Shakhtar was wasted.
At the other end, Roman Weidenfeller had basically nothing to do. The only time he was forced into a stop came on a mis-hit Fernandinho cross which ended up tipped behind for a corner -- by and large Shakhtar spent the opening half twiddling their thumbs and trying in vain to keep their hosts from carving them apart at will.
The Ukrainians made a change during the interval in the hopes of finding the two goals they needed, switching in Douglas Costa for Taison, and the newcomer made an immediate impact. A fantastic run saw him break through the Dortmund lines only to be foiled by a weak shot straight at Weidenfeller, and second later he fizzed an effort just wide.
But the visitor's rennaisance was brief and BVB soon went back on the attack, with Pyatov having to save from Marco Reus and Götze in quick succession. And the error-prone goalkeeper couldn't hold out for long. A phenomenal turn from Jakub Blaszczykowski set up Ilkay Gündogan for a shot from the edge of the box, and although Pyatov got behind the effort he spilled it straight into Kuba's path. A bit of clever control and a tap-in later, and Dortmund were up 3-0.
Shakhtar didn't let their heads go down, but it was clear who was going through. Several BVB players had great opportunities to extend their lead -- Pyatov earned some measure of redemption when he kept out a difficult strike from substitute Kevin Großkreutz. And while Weidenfeller and the Dortmund back line were called into action on a few occasions as the visitors sought to give themselves a bit of dignity, the hosts always looked more dangerous.
For all the huffing in front of goal, neither team managed to find the net after Kuba's 59th strike. And it probably wouldn't have made a bit of difference if they had. Borussia Dortmund are through to the quarterfinals, and they were by far the better side over the two legs.