Borussia Dortmund hosts Inter Milan in Champions League match-day four as Dortmund kicks off the second half of Group F at 3 pm EST. BVB currently sits third in the group, behind Inter on goal differential and in need of a win to put themselves in position to advance.
Under embattled manager Lucien Favre, Dortmund have picked up seven points from their last three Bundesliga matches, including a recent 3-0 drubbing of Wolfsburg, plus a Pokal win over Gladbach. It was one of their best performances of the season without captain Marco Reus, as the defense neutralized the Wolfsburg attack of Josip Brekalo and Wout Weghorst while they improved in the second half offensively to get goals from Thorgan Hazard, Raphaël Guerreiro, and Mario Götze.
Not only has the team kind of improved offensively, but they appear to have gotten better in the defensive end. Marwin Hitz has been exceptional taking over for an injured Roman Bürki in recent games, and even Manuel Akanji looked adequate last weekend, which is a big improvement this season.
Dortmund looked very poor in the last meeting between these two on October 23, not generating a real chance on goal until late in the first half as they were soundly beaten 2-0 at the San Siro. It was as bad and bland of a performance as we’ve seen from Dortmund all year, and not even their superb talent could bail them out on that day. Frankly. They were grateful the score ended up being only 2-0 with how well Bürki played.
Second-place Inter have scored seven points from their last three matches against Parma (2-2), Brescia (2-1), and Bologna (2-1) since their win over Dortmund. Antonio Conte has this team humming as they sit just one point off Juventus for that Serie A lead. While he was held scoreless back in October, leading-scorer Romelu Lukaku must still be locked down or else it will be a long evening for the Black and Yellows. Lautaro Martinez, who scored a very nice goal and was denied a second on a great penalty save by Bürki, is another dangerous offensive player for Inter that is tied for second in Serie A for goals scored (24). Samir Hamdanovic will be a tough nut to crack for Dortmund, as he was able to save a few of BVB’s dangerous shots on goal.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
With an away match at Barcelona still on the schedule, a win here is very crucial to Dortmund’s hopes of making it to the Champions League knockout stages. Paco Alcácer’s return from injury and the positive momentum of two consecutive wins should help BVB as they try to break through Inter’s tough defense. I see this coming down to whichever manager makes the right adjustments throughout the game, which Favre has improved in as of late. While I’m not going to definitively give this one to Dortmund, I can see them performing much better and maybe coming up just short in the end.