Woohoo! Champions League! After an uneventful weekend in which nothing happened, and everything was fine, Dortmund look to maintain their first-leg lead over Spanish giants Sevilla.
Since playing BVB in Seville, Julen Lopetegui’s side have cooled off significantly. Before the first-leg, Sevilla had won nine straight matches in all competitions and were one of the hottest teams in Europe. Since losing to the black and yellows, however, the Spanish side has crashed out of the Copa Del Rey in dramatic fashion and have lost three of their last four matches. In their most recent game against La Liga bottom-feeders Elche, Sevilla fell victim to the same counter-attacking style of football that Dortmund employed in the first-leg and ended up losing 2-1. After this poor spell of form, the red and whites are now just three points ahead of Real Sociedad for fourth place in La Liga.
Dortmund, on the other hand, have problems of their own heading into this fixture. Die Borussen will be without talismanic winger Jadon Sancho whose injury will keep him out for the rest of the month. They will likely also be missing creative fullback Raphael Guerreiro, whose ability to start counter-attacking moves would be hugely missed in the second-leg. Thorgan Hazard should be a suitable replacement for Sancho, but if Nico Schulz were to replace Guerreiro, it would be a massive downgrade. The German’s performances at left-back have been shaky since joining BVB, and even if he can put in a solid defensive shift, he’s unlikely to match Guerreiro’s offensive production. Hopefully, his decent performance over the weekend, against a team whose name escapes me at the moment, will give him some confidence if he’s called upon.
Sevilla is likely to try and take advantage of Dortmund’s poor set-piece defending just as they did in the second half of the first-leg. Luuk De Jong has had a pretty poor season thus far, but his ability to head the ball and hold-up play may very well see him into the starting line-up on Tuesday. He’s a big target in the middle for Papu Gomez and Jesus Navas to aim at, and that could prove extremely useful against Die Schwarzgelben. Youssef En-Nesyri is also someone who Eden Terzic has to look out for in the second-leg. If he is put on the left-wing, his speed and dribbling ability make him a threat to the inexperienced Mateu Morey or the mistake-prone Thomas Meunier at right-back. Expect him to win a few free-kicks.
For Dortmund, the task is much simpler than the one that faces Sevilla. The Spaniards will have to force the issue to make up for their 3-2 defeat in the first-leg, which should give BVB plenty of counter-attacking opportunities. With Erling Haaland in your side, against a team with a high-line, goals seem likely. Having said that, the black and yellows have to prevent early crosses into the box and cannot commit fouls deep in their own half. A midfield three of Jude Bellingham, Mahmoud Dahoud, and Thomas Delaney should help prevent Sevilla from getting too comfortable in possession anywhere inside Dortmund’s half.
If Erling Haaland is even at 90%, he should be able to give Dortmund the edge in this fixture. Sevilla have a lot of talent in their ranks, but they didn’t have much cutting edge against BVB in the first-leg, and if Terzic plays this right, I don’t expect them to in the second.