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Borussia Dortmund deserves credit for having dominated the Champions League's so-called 'Group of Death', according to director of sport Michael Zorc after his team hammered Ajax 4-1 in Amsterdam.
The German champion booked its place in the last 16 on Wednesday with some clinical finishing and impressive counter-attacking soccer as Germany stars Marco Reus and Mario Goetze shone and Poland's Robert Lewandowski scored twice.
Having been drawn with Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City in Group D, Dortmund is now three points clear at the top of the table ahead of its final pool game at home to Manchester City in a fortnight.
But Zorc says his team deserves all the credit it has earned after beating Real at home, then drawing away in Madrid and Manchester while claiming victory over the Dutch home and now away during its campaign.
"You simply have to give the team a lot of praise for the way they marched through a difficult group, we didn't expect that," said Zorc as Dortmund reached the knockout phase for the first time since 2003.
Incredibly, Dortmund had just five shots on target over the 90 minutes at the Amsterdam Arena, but scored from four of them and gave a lesson in counter-attacking soccer with just 33 percent possession.
"I think we had an average of around 70 percent possession, but we gave bad goals away," said Ajax coach Frank De Boer.