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Champions League Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund Face Copenhagen in Throwaway Match

BVB travel to Copenhagen with a trip to the Round of 16 already in the bag.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Copenhagen: Group G - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund have one more match in the Champions League Group Stage. While other clubs in other groups might still have stuff to play for, BVB do not. With a trip to the knockout stage guaranteed, a win tomorrow is not crucial for BVB’s long-term success, even though a win is never anything to complain about.

FC Copenhagen also have nothing to play for, as their hopes of qualifying for the Knockout Stage, or even the Europa League, disappeared long ago. They will have their pride to play for, though, so I’m sure they won’t roll over lightly.

The most notable event that occurred in the reverse fixture had nothing to do with what happened on the pitch, but with what happened in the stands between the Dortmund and Copenhagen fans. On that night back in September, flares were thrown, and security personnel at the Westfalenstadion had to intervene to separate the two groups of supporters.

Even though the Copenhagen Police initially demanded that BVB fans be excluded from tomorrow’s match in Denmark, about 1,900 fans have nevertheless been permitted to go to the stadium. Hopefully, the fans on both sides keep their heads and don’t let any incidents mar the reputation of either club.

Just as the fans’ main goal should be to stay safe, in a funny way, the goal for BVB’s players should be the same. No matter what, Dortmund will finish second place in the group and advance to the Round of 16. There is nothing to play for. Meanwhile, the squad looked absolutely exhausted against Eintracht Frankfurt over the weekend. The players have been completely run into the ground over the last few months. As a result, the objectives for Edin Terzic should be as follows:

  1. Avoid any injuries at all costs
  2. Give key players the opportunity to rest
  3. Give bench players some minutes to gain experience.

That’s it! That’s all I care about tomorrow. If we win, but Jude Bellingham or some other key player gets hurt, it will not have been worth it. We desperately need these players to stay healthy for the remaining matches before the World Cup begins, and there’s no reason for them to hurt themselves about a Champions League game that doesn’t matter at all.

To condense the above three points into one sentence, let me make myself very clear: if Tom Rothe is not in the squad tomorrow, I’m going to scream.

The Lineup I Want

If BVB could field fewer than eleven players tomorrow, I would actively consider that if I were Edin Terzic. Unfortunately, he has to actually pick eleven players from the squad to play Copenhagen. This means that Terzic should run out every squad/depth player he has at his disposal, and only fill in with first-squad players in positions where there are no other options. So it should be something like this:

I couldn’t think of another midfielder to play, because I think Özcan needs as much rest as possible, but Jude Bellingham should not play the full 90 minutes, nor should Julian Brandt, Donyell Malen, or Karim Adeyemi.

Player to Watch: Viktor Claesson

FC Copenhagen vs Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Group G Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images

FC Copenhagen have struggled to keep up in the title race in the Danish Superliga, but not because of Viktor Claesson. The Swedish striker has seven goals, five more than any player currently on Copenhagen’s squad sheet. He has played close to every minute of Copenhagen’s season in both the Superliga and the Champions League, so he’s been an absolute workhorse. Watching his highlights, he reminds me of what BVB were hoping for when they signed Anthony Modeste: he’s a classic center forward who makes his money inside the 18-yard-box scoring off headers. He could absolutely poach a goal or two if he gets some open space in the box.

Score Prediction

The lineup I want would probably get steamrolled 4-0, so I’ll go with that. Truly an historic moment in FC Copenhagen history.