England midfielder Jude Bellingham is certain his Borussia Dortmund side will not be intimidated by the challenge of trying to knock 2021 champions Chelsea out of the Champions League in three weeks’ time.
Dortmund beat the Blues 1-0 in front of 81,365 at a sold-out Signal Iduna Park thanks to a sublime solo effort from Karim Adeyemi in the second half, the first time since 2016 Dortmund had beaten Premier League opposition in Europe.
A second-leg victory at Stamford Bridge on March 7 would book Bellingham’s side their fifth trip to the quarter-finals since the round of 16 was introduced, a prospect the 19-year-old is already relishing.
“It’ll be a brilliant experience for us,” he told CBS Sports Golazo.
“I think we all dream of playing in games like that where we go away to big teams and we try to get a positive result to see our team into the next round, so you’ve got to enjoy games like that, you can’t shy away from it and we’ll definitely be up for it in the second leg.”
The Stourbridge native – a rumoured target for Chelsea this summer – is one of England’s rapidly-rising talents after scoring and picking up an assist at the World Cup in Qatar.
Bellingham, despite his youth, has already achieved a multitude of milestones.
His goal against Manchester City in the 2021 quarter-final second leg made him the youngest English player to score in the Champions League, at 17 years and 289 days.
Wednesday marked the second time Bellingham, who scored a team-leading four goals in the group stages, was handed the captain’s armband in the Champions League.
The first came in October’s 4-1 victory over Sevilla with Bellingham – at 19 years and 98 days – also becoming the third-youngest captain in Champions League history, behind only Ruben Neves (Porto, 18 years 221 days) and Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax, 19 years 51 days).
Bellingham is not conscious of his age when it comes to his role as a team leader, admitting: “I think it comes quite naturally, but for me it’s probably the biggest honour of my career so far, to captain this football club.
“I have brilliant role models like Marco (Reus) and Mats (Hummels) and I know how to kind of carry myself when I see them, they carry themselves so well so I take a lot of examples from that.
“I know that without the captain’s armband I can still try and lead the team and this is just kind of a bit more for show, but we need to all be captains in the second leg. It’s important that we all show up and we all get the job done.”
Kai Havertz scored the only goal in Chelsea’s 2021 Champions League title triumph and was frustrated by Wednesday’s result in his native Germany, where the Blues managed 21 attempts to their opponents’ 14 but could not find the finishing touch.
He told the club website: “It’s frustrating to lose because I thought we played quite well.
“We created plenty of chances and on another day, we could have scored a couple of goals and the tie would look so different.
“I don’t think we should be too unhappy with our performance because we created the opportunities, but it’s just frustrating that we couldn’t take any of them. We have to look at that and try to improve on that front.”