Borussia Dortmund will start their Champions League campaign against Club Brugge and will look to redeem themselves after the horrendous exit from the group stage last season. Going out of the group when two of your opponents are Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur isn’t embarrassing per se but the way those games went and especially the two draws against Nicosia still make BVB fans cringe. With a new look team and a new coaching staff the black and yellows will hopefully avenge last season’s miserable showing and they need to start with a win in Belgium.
Who are Club Brugge?
Club Brugge is one of Belgium’s most storied clubs, sitting at 15 national championship titles, 2nd behind RSC Anderlecht and 11 national Cup titles. Last season they were the dominant team in the Jupiler Pro League winning the title with a 12 point lead. In addition they are off to a great start this season winning six of their first seven games.
So BVB will have to travel to an in form team that they can’t underestimate or they will have a rude awakening. Some of Brugge’s best players are their Brazilian striker Wesley, CAM Hans Vanaken and central midfielders Marvelous Nakamba (yes his name is really marvelous) and Ruud Vormer. Dortmund will have to pay attention to Wesley, who will probably not play for Brugge much longer, or he will punish BVB’s backline. Furthermore their midfield consisting of Nakamba, Vormer and Vanaken in a very tight 3-5-2 system is very tough to play. You can expect Brugge to sit back and wait for counters so this might be a game where BVB will have to keep their composure and wait for their chances.
How will BVB line up?
Neither Paco Alcacer nor Thomas Delaney will be available for the game and Jacob Bruun Larsen has traveled with the team but had to be subbed off during the game against Eintracht Frankfurt with an injury and will probably not start against Brugge.
There will probably be no changes to BVB’s backline but we could see some changes in midfield and at the winger position. Christian Pulisic could be back after his injury and either Marco Reus could move back to winger to make room for Mario Götze or Shinji Kagawa at the “10”, or Jadon Sancho could finally start a game.
In midfield Axel Witsel might be the only player with a starting guarantee. With Delaney out, either Mo Dahoud or Julian Weigl could slot in next to Witsel or maybe even Mario Götze depending on what Favre has in mind.
personally I would like to see a Weigl-Witsel-Kagawa midfield with Reus and Sancho on the wings. Weigl and Witsel could BVB a solid passing midfield against a team that is likely to park the buss and Kagawa has shown that he can create magic in tight spaces.
Prediction: BVB win 2:0
In a group with Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco, Borussia Dortmund will have no room for mistakes, meaning 6 points against Brugge are a must. The memories of last season’s group stage are still on our minds but a victory to start off this year’s campaign should help to get this team back on track. Brugge aren’t a bad team but Dortmund have the quality to win this and quite frankly they need to.