|ESPNsoccernet: UEFA Champions League|
Ilkay Gundogan says Borussia Dortmund can make waves in this season's Champions League following their 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in Tuesday's last-16 second leg.
• Blog: Santana in tune for Dortmund
Following a tough week on the domestic front Borussia Dortmund jumped at the chance to silence critics with their dominant win over Shakhtar at the Westfalenstadion which sent them through 5-2 on aggregate.
Gundogan believes that such a result will send a message to the rest of the sides who will be in the draw for the quarter-finals come March 15.
"This was close to perfect European night," he said after the match. "I think the football fans in Europe have noticed we have created something great here in Dortmund. We don't need to hide from anyone.
"On a good day, and when we play to our full potential, we can almost beat any team in the world. I think all of the eight teams have a chance to get as far as possible, and we are one of them."
One of the main factors in Dortmund's win was the inclusion of defensive midfielder Sven Bender, who was selected ahead of club captain Sebastian Kehl. Bender organised the Dortmund game during the first half-hour while Ilkay Gundogan had to lie deep - even, at times, behind the Dortmund defense - to escape man-to-man marking. At half-time, however, Bender decided he could not carry on.
"I think we did a very, very good job," Bender said. "Everything is possible with the way we play. We all, of course, still lack some experience as none of us had ever played a last 16 match in the Champions League. It was an important game, and that's why it didn't make any sense for me to carry on playing with pain."
Bender was replaced at the break by Kehl, who later revealed he had played despite breaking a rib in Saturday's Bundesliga game against Hannover before playing down expectations following the win over Shakhtar.
"It was never planned I'd play for such a long time today," he said. "But things were even worse for Bender, he had to come off. I was in real pain.
"Of course, I'm happy [with the win]. But it's not like we should launch a party now. We will of course meet up after the game, look at the goals and talk about the match. But it's too early to jump around as we haven't won anything yet."
Kehl also praised team-mate Felipe Santana. The Brazilian had faced heavy criticism after his recent displays in the Bundesliga and was widely regarded as a weak link in defence ahead of the game.
"I told him straight after the game: 'Look at that! They were bashing you in the last couple of days and today you are the matchwinner'," Kehl said. "It's that close in football. It's a pity that it's either black or white, but that's something you have to cope with in football."
Kehl's words echoed in the headlines in Germany on Wednesday morning. Dortmund had been written off by the media ahead of the game and manager Jurgen Klopp had come under fire for various comments made following Dortmund's cup defeat against Bayern Munich last week.
On Wednesday, Die Welt headlined: "Proof! Klopp is the best German coach", and most of the other papers celebrated Dortmund's return to form too.