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Dortmund-RB Salzburg Preview: BVB try to take another step in the Europa League

Dortmund’s next chapter in their quest for a title.

Spain Training Session - UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund will host RB Salzburg in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16 this Thursday. A favorable draw for Dortmund, the boys should be able to dismantle this foe with relative ease. The Black and Yellows most recently drew 1-1 against Salzburg’s sister club Leipzig, showing they are not quite on their way to being a force to be reckoned with in Germany. Still, the difference in quality between German and Austrian clubs is quite obvious.

If you are keeping up with the Champions League, you will know that PSG just got knocked out by Real Madrid. While Neymar was out, the Parisians still should not have lost by the margin they did considering the quality of players they have at their disposal. After all, this season’s squad from the Spanish capital is the worst Real Madrid side we’ve seen in years. It ultimately comes down to this: Ligue 1 is a poor league that offers little competition for Paris, which doesn’t help them get better and leaves them ill-prepared for European competition.

The facts don’t lie. But why am I telling you this?

The same can be said for RB Salzburg. The last time a club other than RB Salzburg won the Austrian Football Bundesliga it was 2013. Given their corporate backing, they are simply richer than the competition and as a result, they dominate Austrian football. Looking at their history, however, they are often stomped on in European competitions. They have just beaten Real Sociedad in the Round of 32, yes, but I really don’t see them pulling up to this one guns blazing.

Starting XI

According to the Bundesliga website:

Bürki, Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Schmelzer, Weigl, Castro, Schürrle, Götze, Reus, Batshuayi

If this is true, then we’ll continue to see Das Trio of Schürrle, Götze, and Reus slaughter defenses. Batshuayi hasn’t scored in a little while, so Salzburg would be an excellent opportunity to get back to registering goals. Castro has been named, so that’s that. Stöger might want to give Dahoud a rest after a great performance against Leipzig this past weekend, with the possibility of saving him for this Sunday’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Predicted Score

I think we can pull off a solid 3:0 victory. Am I being overconfident? Am I underestimating the opponent? Am I being optimistic? Perhaps all of the above. Guess we’ll just have to find out.

Marc Bartra Farewell

This past January we had to say goodbye to a fan favorite who left Dortmund in such a quick manner that he never really got a proper sendoff. This Thursday, before the match, Marc Bartra will be honored and the fans will show him all sorts of love.

I’m so excited for this. I hope you are too.