Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea Champions League Preview
The knockout stages of the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League kick off tonight, as Tottenham Hotspur travel to Milan, and German champions Bayern Munich are set for a blockbuster affair away at Paris Saint-Germain.
Tomorrow night, on Wednesday, 15 February at 8pm (GMT), an in-form Borussia Dortmund side welcome the Premier League’s underperforming Chelsea to Signal Iduna Park, for what is set to be an evenly contested encounter.
The match will be televised on BT Sport in the United Kingdom.
This is set to be the first time that the sides have met competitively.
However, they did meet in a friendly almost 70 years ago, in 1954, when BVB won 6-1 in the USA.
Chelsea have won just one of their last six meetings with German sides, coming in a 5-0 win at Schalke in 2014. Meanwhile in their previous ten trips to Germany, the Blues have lost five times, winning just three.
But despite defeat in their first away European match of the season at Dinamo Zagreb, the side from Stamford Bridge have won their two away trips since, at Milan and RB Salzburg. However, they have won just three of their 12 away games in the league.
Dortmund, on the other hand, have won just six of their 22 meetings with English opposition in the Champions League, with four of those coming at home.
After winning Europe’s most prestigious club competition for the second time two years ago, Chelsea are yet to reach such heights since.
Ahead of last season, on the back of that historic win, the west Londoners brought in Romelu Lukaku yet off-field drama left a bitter taste in the mouth of manager Thomas Tuchel, formerly of the Black and Yellows.
A third place finish, 19 points behind eventual winners Manchester City, and a cruel quarter-final exit from the Champions League left plenty to be improved upon ahead of this current campaign.
But despite spending big in the summer, Tuchel didn’t make the start he would’ve wished for, and was relieved of his duties by new owner Todd Boehly. Despite a brief period of good form under new boss Graham Potter, the Blues are struggling and are shockingly sitting in 10th place in the Premier League.
In an attempt to amend that, Boehly splashed over €300m (according to transfermarkt.com ) in January, including spending a reported British record €121m on World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez, while the likes of Mykhaylo Mudryk, Joao Felix, Benoit Badiashile and Noni Madueke also came in.
Those signings have also led to BVB legend Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being unregistered from their Champions League squad.
With slight signs of improvement since their investments, Potter’s task is still certainly a work in progress.
How will BVB line up?
Last term saw an incredibly underwhelming European campaign for Borussia Dortmund, who crashed out of the UCL, finishing behind Ajax and Sporting in their group, before suffering a shock defeat to Rangers in the preliminary round of the Europa League.
Since their 2013 Wembley heartbreak, when Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund side were beaten by Bayern in the final, the furthest BVB have gone in the Champions League is the quarter-finals, a stage they’ve since reached on three occasions, being knocked out by an English side once (Manchester City in 2021).
Tottenham Hotspur sent them home twice, firstly in the 2017-18 group stages and again in the 2018-19 round of 16.
The Black and Yellows will be aiming to get past that stage this time around and given Chelsea’s struggles, they may fancy their chances. But who will be the eleven trusted by Edin Terzic to help their side reach the last eight?
As confirmed by Terzic today, Youssoufa Moukoko will miss out and be out of action for ‘the next few weeks’, along with Mateu Morey and Julien Duranville, who are in recovery training.
Gregor Kobel is almost guaranteed to start in goal.
In defence, Mats Hummels could be trusted due to his experience, but Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck, the pairing which kept a clean sheet in their 2-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday, would like to think they’ve done enough to retain a starting place.
Marius Wolf has been in impressive form but is a doubt at right-back due to his recent shoulder injury. January signing Julian Ryerson is therefore expected to keep his place there, with Raphael Guerreiro on the opposite side of the backline.
Emre Can and Jude Bellingham are highly likely to start in the midfield. The final midfield spot is highly contentious; Salih Özcan could start for a more defensive presence, but club captain Marco Reus could be trusted again.
On the wings, Julian Brandt is a certainty to start; he’s been in electric form. Jamie Bynoe-Gittens came off the bench to open the scoring at Bremen on Saturday. He could start, as could Karim Adeyemi, who has two goals in his last two starts, and Giovanni Reyna will also be eyeing another.
After Moukoko picked up an injury at the Weserstadion, Sebastien Haller is expected to return to the starting lineup up front.
Predicted XI: Kobel; Guerreiro, Schlotterbeck, Süle, Ryerson; Brandt, Reus, Can, Bellingham, Adeyemi; Haller.
Out of all of the ties drawn for the round of 16, this looks like one of the most even. This is expected to be a tense, tight affair.
Both sides like to have the ball, but Chelsea and their new-look side seem to pose significant threat on the counter-attack, with the likes of Mudryk, who already has three goals and two assists in this competition this term.
The Blues have always seemed to go far in Europe in recent seasons, but this will be a tough test for them, in front of a full-capacity Signal Iduna Park and in front of the yellow wall.
First legs always tend to be more tense than second legs, so I’m predicting a 1-1 draw here.
How do you think this one will go?