Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia will aim get their first win in the UEFA Champions League this season, when they meet at Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday.
Going into this match, both sides only have just one point to their name and strangely identical numbers. Both sides were on the receiving end of 3-0 and 3-1 defeats at the hands of Tottenham and reigning Champions League holders Real Madrid, respectively.
They subsequently went on to play out a 1-1 draw at the GSP Stadium and this match will be to decide who gets to move to third spot and hold on to a Europa League spot, until Matchday 5.
Since playing out the 1-1 draw a fortnight ago, Borussia Dortmund have played three games, of which they have won, lost and drawn a match each. APOEL on the hand have played two and failed to win either, drawing one and losing the other. Their last victory came way back on the 13th of October against Doxa Katokopias.
Team News & Tactics
Erik Durm, Sebastian Rode, Marco Reus, Lukasz Piszczek, Maximilian Philipp and Omer Toprak are all expected to miss out tonight for Peter Bosz. There are expected to be two changes to the side that started in Nicosia a fortnight ago.
Dan-Axel Zagadou is expected to come in for Omer Toprak, while Nuri Sahin should to start ahead of Shinji Kagawa. Marcel Schmelzer, Sokratis and Marc Bartra are all expected to retain their place in the starting XI, while Julian Weigl and Mario Gotze will start in midfield with Sahin.
Christian Pulisic, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andriy Yarmolenko are likely to start in attack, and will have the onus on them to get the all-important goals to clinch all three points for their side.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Burki; Bartra, Sokratis, Axel-Zagadou, Schmelzer; Gotze, Weigl, Sahin; Yarmolenko, Pierre-Aubameyang, Pulisic
Boy Waterman is out injured for the Cypriots, meaning Raul Gudino will start in goal. Carlao, Roberto Lago and Facundo Bertoglio are all sidelined as well and will miss the trip to Dortmund. Nektarios Alexandrou, Giorgios Merkis, Jesus Rueda and Praxitelis Vouros will, therefore, likely be in the back-four.
Nuno Morais and Vinicius are once again expected to start in midfield. Efstathios Aloneftis, Lorenzo Ebecilio and Ghayas Zahid will all start in attack, with Ebecilio playing in a more central role in behind the striker, who is expected to be Igor de Camargo.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Gudino; Vouros, Rueda, Merkis, Alexandrou; Vinicius, Morais; Zahid, Ebecilio, Aloneftis; de Camargo
- Borussia Dortmund have failed to win any of their last five UEFA Champions League games.
- Borussia Dortmund failed to win three consecutive matches for the first time since December 2016.
- APOEL Nicosia have won only four games at home this season, in all competitions.
- Borussia Dortmund have lost only two matches on the road this season, in all competitions.
- Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 15 goals in 15 games across all competitions so far this season.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 APOEL Nicosia
While the draw in their previous encounter could be ruled out as a one-off, Borussia Dortmund will have no excuses to not come away from this match with all three points, especially at home in what will surely be a packed and very loud Signal Iduna Park.
The German giants have won only once in their last five games, which has seen them surrender top spot in Bundesliga, and Peter Bosz and their fans will undoubtedly be getting frustrated. A positive result is needed now more than ever, especially after they lost their place at the top to Bayern Munich for the first time this season.