After a hectic match against our fellow (and inferior) Borussia club, Dortmund has yet another test awaiting for them in Italy.
Borussia Dortmund won last week’s fixture against the Italian side 3-2 thanks to a last minute goal from newcomer Michy Batshuayi. This Thursday Atalanta will have the home field advantage. It’s safe to say that Stöger’s style of play still doesn’t have everyone convinced, but it has produced recent results. Dortmund now sits in 2nd place in the Bundesliga, while Atalanta are 8th in Serie A.
Both clubs have everything to play for. In what has been a disastrous season for Dortmund, the Europa League remains the one trophy that is still winnable. I imagine Stöger will relay the importance of this competition to the squad in an effort to bolster morale. Atalanta will want to prove to themselves and to others around them that they are capable of being a force to be reckoned with. A good European run will do just that. Regardless, someone is going home with their heads hung low in defeat. Let’s hope that it’s them.
Josip Iličić proved in the first leg that he is a dangerous attacker who the Dortmund defense should worry about, adding two goals to his name. While one may argue that he didn’t really have to do much to earn his goals, nevertheless, he must be aggressively marked. Defensive errors were the cause of the conceded goals last week, so everyone in the backline will have to make sure they’re performing at their best. A good game from Roman Bürki would be great as well, but we need to be realistic here.
The German trio of Reus, Götze, and Schürrle has been in fine form, and they could definitely be the driving force once again behind Dortmund’s attack. Batshuayi didn’t score against Mönchengladbach on Sunday but he hardly received any service, so I’m sure with the talent behind him he’ll be able to at least get one goal to his name.
Dortmund have a one goal advantage going into the match, but that is not an excuse to play with less than 100% effort. The Black and Yellows should strive for another win to seal their passage into the Round of 16, and to show whoever they draw next that they are not to be messed with.
Atalanta will put everything into this match, as European qualification for next season isn’t guaranteed for them, the way Serie A is unfolding. Stöger and his men will need to pull out the big guns once again to prove they are capable of winning this tournament.
Dortmund win 2-1, with BVB’s goals coming from Götze and Batshuayi.