Dortmund will face off against Beşiktaş today in their final Champions League match of the season after unfortunately failing to qualify for the next round due to their loss against Sporting. On the back of Der Klassiker defeat, Marco Rose will be looking to spare his team’s blushes a bit by condemning Beşiktaş to their sixth and final loss of the competition. This will also present Rose an opportunity to instill some tactical preparation in his team before he retires to the stands to serve his red-card suspension in the next league game. Hopefully BVB’s manager will use the opportunity to rest some of his bigger stars with nothing but pride to play for. He could also give some first team prospects and even some under-19s an opportunity to impress on the world’s biggest stage. Beşiktaş on the other hand will know that Dortmund have nothing to play for and will be looking to grab the only remaining points left in the group before they crash out of the competition.
Some Dortmund fans will see this game as nothing but a point of frustration over a campaign wasted, but given the surprise strength of the opponents Dortmund faced in their group and the incredible injury situation that they faced, few fans would argue at the end of the season if we are still going to toe-to-toe with Bayern Munich despite leaving the UCL campaign too soon. After all, AFC Ajax are still a decent shout to win the whole thing, and Dortmund had to see that first-hand in their two meetings.
After his disastrous performance at the weekend, I expect Mats Hummels to see a full 90 minutes of rest allowing one of Dan-Axel Zagadou or Marin Pongracic to step into his place. Maybe we could even see a surprise appearance from young summer signing Coulibaly, who has yet to feature for the first team. Jude Bellingham looked strapped for match fitness in the final 30 minutes against Bayern, so expect him to drop back to the bench in favor of Axel Witsel. This game would have presented a perfect opportunity to give a player like Youssouffa Moukoko a full 90 minutes of international exposure, however the young German is once again nursing a muscle injury and will not return until the new year. Expect Steffen Tigges to make an appearance, and maybe if Rose is feeling bold we could even see u-19 Striker Bradley Fink make his first appearance for the first team after a strong run of form.
Instead of being disappointed over what could have been, it would be in the best interest of Dortmund fans to use this match as a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy an exhibition from some of BVB’s lesser seen youngsters. Marco Rose would do well to take this opportunity to settle his team down after a frustrating and emotional defeat and to allow his older players to provide support for their younger compatriots looking to break into the first-team. This will also be an opportunity for some of the senior players to rest their legs before the run in to close the Hindrunde. Look for a 2-2 draw and hopefully an absence of any major drama.