Kai Havertz admits penalty nerves as Chelsea put ‘hard’ run behind them with Champions League win
Kai Havertz admitted he was “nervous” stepping up to retake his penalty as he put Chelsea ahead in their Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund and ultimately sent them through to the quarter-finals.
The Blues were 1-0 down after the first leg in Germany, and missed a number of first-half chances as Kalidou Koulibaly somehow wasted a glorious chance from a few yards out before Havertz was denied by both the offside flag and the woodwork before the break.
Raheem Sterling put Chelsea in front on the night to level it up on aggregate, before Havertz then stepped up to the spot after a long VAR review eventually resulted in the hosts being awarded a penalty.
The German sent the goalkeeper the wrong way but hit the post, only to be given a second chance due to encroachment from the Dortmund players. Havertz held his nerve to find the bottom corner, putting the Blues 2-0 up and they held on to reach the last-eight.
It was a badly-needed performance and result for Chelsea, against a Dortmund side on a run of ten straight wins in 2023. Graham Potter’s side, meanwhile, have managed three victories in 16 games and sit tenth in the Premier League.
A deep Champions League run will certainly lift the spirits though, and Havertz was relieved to get another opportunity to play his part in sending Chelsea through.
“I don’t know anymore, I just thought ‘oh no’,” Havertz told BT Sport when asked what he was thinking after the initial miss. “But the referee let me retake the penalty. I was a bit nervous but at the end I scored and that was the most important.
“I tried to wait to look at the keeper and I saw that he was going to go again for that side. Obviously the second one was a bit easier.
On the significance of back-to-back wins for the first time since October, he added: “The last two weeks were hard for us, we lost a lot of games.
“Today was important for us because we know the Champions League is an important tournament. It’s the last tournament we’re in so we have to give everything for that.
“Today we showed character and showed that we want to win this competition. Now we have to build on this and also win games in the Premier League.”