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The Daily Bee (December 10th, 2019): Champions League fate on the line for BVB

A win is desperately need against Slavia and an Inter loss or draw

Training Borussia Dortmund Photo by Bernd Thissen/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Champions League

It’s all or nothing for Borussia Dortmund today. Well not quite, the Europa League is already secured for BVB but the Champions League knockout stage is still on the line.

Unfortunately, it’s not entirely in BVB’s hands, Barcelona need to get a result at Inter for Dortmund to have a chance and it doesn’t look like the Spanish side are taking this very seriously. Neither Piqué, Ter Stegen nor Lionel Messi made the trip to Italy which makes Inter’s job much easier. BVB have to win against Slavia, the rest is not on them.

Defending champions Liverpool could still technically be eliminated from the competition, although it needs an unlikely scenario. RB Salzburg would need to win the direct match-up with Liverpool and SSC Napoli needs to beat KRC Genk.

RB Leipzig have already clinched their spot in the next round, they will go up against Olympique Lyon who still have a chance to advance. However they will need a slip up from Zenit St. Petersburg.

In group H, Chelsea, Ajax and Valencia are still vying for their spot in the knockout stage. Despite being in third place, Chelsea have the best chance to advance considering that they will face OSC Lille and Ajax and Valencia will go up against each other.

Lucien Favre has commented on BVB’s upcoming match against Slavia and has reminded everyone that Dortmund need to take care of business first.

‘’There’s been lots of talk about Barca, lots of talk about Inter, but no-one has talked about Slavia. They’re a very good side. They drew 0-0 in Barcelona and 1-1 in Milan. They can run all day long - 132 kilometres in a single match is almost a world record. They’re really strong in the tackle and like to press high up the park. It will be a very interesting match. Anything can happen, we have to do all we can to get a win. We have to concentrate on our game. Then we can start thinking about what’s going on in Milan.’’

Julian Brandt has found his fit within this Borussia Dortmund team. Brandt is playing in central midfield in the new 3-4-3 system and he has helped being the creative force next to Axel Witsel. Brandt himself has talked about his new role:

“It’s a lot of fun to play there. Being able to get into the game from the centre of the pitch can really bring it to life. In central midfield you’re connected to every player, and an important link between defence and attack. That was certainly the case against Fortuna, and it worked really well!”

Brandt has also commented on his synergy with Marco Reus and how it feels similar to Kai Havertz in recent years in Leverkusen:

“Sometimes you just need a bit of time to get used to each other. Now we’re able to be far more effective. It’s about knowing where the other player is, even if you can’t see him. In the past few weeks, I’ve played out wide, then as a striker, and today I played centrally. It always felt like Marco was in a different position on the pitch. But I’ve realized that things could turn out to be the same as they were for me last season with Kai Havertz at Bayer Leverkusen. Unfortunately, these combinations don’t always work overnight. Marco and I have always had patience though. We believe it’s working.”

Daily Buzz: Axel Witsel is out for the rest of the year. Despite that should Lucien Favre still stick with the 3-4-3 that worked so well in recent weeks and who should replace him?