After a meandering, actionless 90 minutes of action between Borussia Dortmund and FC Copenhagen, both sides settled for a draw in the Danish capital. The host eagerly chased down a winner, hoping to collect their first and only victory of the UCL season. “A heavily” rotated Dortmund side looked see out the campaign without embarrassing themselves. Most of the players succeeded; most.
Regardless, Dortmund will now advance to the round of sixteen, where an exceptionally strong lineup of European heavyweight will greet them. Before we get to that, a quick look at the game that transpired.
Edin Terzic made sure to rotate the squad, but ultimately, the team on display was not that much different than the starting lineup. Emre Can has played in 4/6 UCL matches and 9/13 Bundesliga matches. Adeyemi and Malen are starters and all three center-backs played at least 45 minutes. The only real rest was for Jude Bellingham. The midfielder certainly needed a break, but I would have liked to see a longer stretch on the field for a player like Soumaila Coulibaly or even a cameo for Antonios Papadopoulos.
Dortmund face derby-ish Bochum and a resurgent Wolfsburg in the next seven days; was this match enough resting to get the team back to full fitness? I doubt it.
It is official; Dortmund players do not want each other to score. Today, Donyell Malen denied Anthony Modeste two clear-cut scoring opportunities, but fear not, Modeste made sure to deny himself a few of his own. Malen also put three shots wide, Moukoko dinged one off the post, and the attackers generally looked unsure if their teammates were there to help them, or even there at all. We already know Modeste is not the answer to Dortmund’s goal scoring woes, and that Moukoko certainly helps. The issue remains that Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen contribute precious little from the wings. The two marquee signings need to be better integrated by Edin Terzic, and it will not help him to lose both to the World Cup for almost three months. Remember all, Sebastien Haller is not going to drop in like an angel and save this ship; he does not play on the wings.
The Next Opponents
At the conclusion of the matchday, Dortmund were able to confirm their potential opponents for the next round.
So who should we hope for? I am not sure!
Title holders Real Madrid should be our last choice for certain. The current Madrid side are flying high on the back of a renaissance Luka Modric, a generational Fede Valverde, and Balon D’or winner Karim Benzema. And that’s just a slice of it. There was something that could be unraveled about the Galactico sides of Madrid’s legacy, an egotistical hole in the armor that plucky teams like Dortmund could exploit. Now, Madrid are a gritty, talent-oozing juggernaut and they will be prepared to steamroll anyone in their way.
Let’s see, Napoli have the long last name guy, Benfica won a group with PSG and Juventus in it, Chelsea will probably drop another €100-200 million on their squad in January so no telling what they will look like. I guess it’s Tottenham then? Hard to say. Dortmund will have to fight hard for a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, but if they can build on the matches in Manchester, there might be something to this side that could see them into the next round.
The Round of Sixteen draw is this Monday; who should BVB fan be hoping to face? Is Jude Bellingham going to tear a hole in the universe this weekend after a full week’s rest? Let us know in the comments.