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Dortmund - Sporting CP Preview: A glorious European night in Lisbon?

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Can BVB rebound on Europe’s biggest stage?

Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Bongarts/Getty Images

Let’s be honest, brutally honest. BVB are banged up and not exactly in top form. Hell, let me remind you of our backline against Hertha by the end of the game: Passlack, Merino, Ginter, and Park. No Champions League team will be terrified of that defense.

The reality though is a lot less grim. Bartra made the bench on Friday and should be fit enough to start on Tuesday. Piszczek and Sokratis are also slated to return to the starting XI. Sure our midfield (Castro, Bender, Gurreiro) and attack (Schurrle and Reus) are still banged up but that’s where we’re deepest.

Here’s how Dortmund’s Facebook predicted tomorrow’s lineup:

Personally, I think Passlack will move to the left side while Piszczek regains his right back spot. I also think we’ll see Pulisic, who’s been favored all season, in place of Mor. In order for this lineup to have success Gotze and Kagawa will both have to drop a little further back then they’re used to at times to prevent Weigl from being isolated. We’ll also need Aubameyang to return to his clinical self. I can guarantee that if Batman misses a 1-on-1 and a penalty, like he did against Hertha, we won’t be winning in Portugal.

Sporting won’t be a free win from a non-Big 4 league. They would be a challenge even with a full-strength lineup for us. They’re having a scintillating season that sees them second in the Primeira Liga behind only Benfica.

The Estadio Jose Alvalade especially has been a fortress. The Lions are undefeated at home this year, which includes a win over Porto. Like Dortmund though, their current form is questionable. Sporting’s last game ended in a 3-3 tie to Portuguese League minnows Guimaraes. It’s pretty ridiculous that they haven’t played since before the international break on the first day of October, so the Green and White are probably lacking match sharpness.

Prediction

Tuchel’s BVB traditionally been very strong on the back of losses or ties and I expect this team to be hungry for a winning result.

Against Leverkusen and Hertha we started on the backfoot off of goals on the counter. The return of Bartra and Sokratis should provide an immense difference when we lose the ball. I think we’ll grab all 3 points behind a Aubameyang brace on assists from Kagawa and Pulisic.

Prediction: Dortmund 2-1 Sporting