Chelsea, Benfica win to advance to Champions League QFs
Kai Havertz has fired Chelsea into the Champions League quarter-finals to ease the pressure on under-fire manager Graham Potter.
The Germany international's twice-taken penalty secured a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Chelsea - sitting 10th in the Premier League and with just two wins in 12 games after a below-par campaign under new boss Potter - advanced 2-1 on aggregate, having trailed 1-0 from the round-of-16 first leg in Dortmund last month.
"We have been through a tough period and this competition means a lot for us," Potter said.
"We wanted to progress and get into the last eight and it sets us up for the next few weeks."
Raheem Sterling lashed the 2021 European champions ahead on the night in the 43rd minute after collecting a cross from Ben Chilwell.
Havertz had already hit the post in the first half and seen another effort ruled out for offside.
And he thought he had seen another chance go begging when firing a second-half penalty against post after Marius Wolf handled in the box.
But the spot kick was ordered to be retaken when VAR spotted encroachment in the area.
Dortmund coach Edin Terzic resisted the temptation to criticise the referee.
"Fair play to Chelsea and congratulations," he said.
"Both games were very close ... but at the end of the day they deserved it."
Havertz, whose goal secured the Champions League for Chelsea in a 1-0 win against Manchester City two years ago, stepped up again and coolly slotted home at the second time of asking in the 53rd minute.
"The last few weeks were hard for us," Havertz told BT Sport.
"We lost a lot of games, so today was important for us because we know the Champions League is an important tournament.
"It's our last tournament we're in, so we have to give everything for that.
"Today we showed character, we showed we want to win this competition again and that's the most important. We have to build on this."
In the evening's other tie, Benfica continued their good run with a comfortable 5-1 win over Club Brugge to seal a quarter-final spot.
The Portuguese team advanced 7-1 on aggregate following their 2-0 win in the first leg in Belgium.
Rafa Silva, Joao Mario and David Neres scored a goal each, and Goncalo Ramos found the net twice for Benfica, which had not made it to the last eight in consecutive seasons in more than five decades.
They were eliminated by eventual runners-up Liverpool last year.
"The team has been working hard and things have been going well for us," Silva said.
Bjorn Meijer scored Brugge's lone goal three minutes from time. It was the team's first after four scoreless matches in the Champions League.
Brugge, making their debut in the competition's knockout stage, plunged deeper into crisis under coach Scott Parker.
The team has won only twice in 12 matches since the English manager took over in December.