Borussia Dortmund will brace themselves for an exciting match-up ahead as they welcome FC Barcelona at the Signal Iduna Park tomorrow.
Borussia Dortmund will kickstart their 2019-20 UEFA Champions League campaign in the most exciting way possible as they lock horns with FC Barcelona at the Signal Iduna Park tomorrow evening. Both the clubs will be aiming to seal early three points that could be crucial as they look to qualify from this season’s group of death, with Inter Milan playing Slavia Praha in the other fixture.
Dortmund have been in excellent form, winning the DFL Supercup while securing three wins in four matches in the Bundesliga. They are coming on the back of an emphatic 4-0 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen this past weekend.
Things could get tough for Barcelona in Germany on Tuesday, following a dreadful start to the campaign. The Blaugrana have already dropped four points in four matches in La Liga, allowing both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid to stay ahead of them in the league table.
They did, however, seal an incredible 5-2 victory over Valencia in their last game, with Luis Suarez bagging a brace while Ansu Fati netted his second goal this season. It should give them the confidence they need as the Spanish champions look to kickstart their Champions League campaign on a bright note this week.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this enticing match-up at the Signal Iduna Park.
Team News & Tactics
Lukasz Piszczek missed the Leverkusen game due to injury. Although the Pole has returned to training, it’s unlikely he will return to full fitness in time. That means Achraf Hakimi is set to retain his role at right-back. But, coach Lucien Favre will have no choice but to deploy Raphael Guerreiro on the opposite flank.
The Portuguese international featured in that role in the win over Leverkusen and impressed as well. But, things could be very different against a Barcelona side, who will look to take full advantage of his lack of defensive capabilities. Manuel Akanji and Mats Hummels, meanwhile, are guaranteed starters in central defence, having both performed well against Leverkusen.
The midfield will remain unchanged as well. Thomas Delaney, in particular, was the star of the show in the last match, notably pocketing Kai Havertz. He will be tasked with disrupting Barcelona’s flow in midfield tomorrow, along with Axel Witsel in the double-pivot.
Further forward, Julian Brandt is expected to retain his place in the team despite a clumsy display against his former club. He will be starting alongside Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho in the creative trio, just in behind the main striker Paco Alcacer.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Hakimi, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Brandt; Alcacer
Much of the hype prior to this fixture has been regarding the return of Lionel Messi. The Argentine ace is yet to feature in a single game for Barcelona this summer. He has been included in the squad that will face Dortmund. But, it is unlikely that Ernesto Valverde will want to risk him, though he could feature as a substitute during the latter stages of the game.
The absence of Messi means Carles Perez could start ahead of the inexperienced Fati in the starting lineup. He and Antoine Griezmann will operate as the wide-attackers, with Suarez featuring as the main centre-forward. Fati is, however, an option along with Messi. They could replace Suarez, which will force Griezmann to shift into a central role.
In midfield, Valverde could make one slight change by bringing in Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian international has a lot of experience and could become useful against a side like Dortmund. He will come in at the expense of Arthur. As for Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets, they are guaranteed to retain their place in the starting lineup.
Defence will be Barcelona’s main issue in this fixture. The Spanish giants have been extremely vulnerable, especially on the counter. That means the two fullbacks in Nelson Semedo and Jordi Alba will need to extra careful. Alba, in particular, will be dealt with the challenge of facing the tricky Sancho on the left flank.
In central defence, Valverde will persist with the duo of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet, with Marc Andre ter Stegen returning to his homeland to face former rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; de Jong, Busquets, Rakitic; Perez, Suarez, Griezmann
- This will be the third meeting between the two sides in a competitive match. The previous two came in the 1997-98 European Super Cup over two legs, with Barcelona winning the first leg before drawing 1-1 in Germany.
- This is the fourth successive season that Dortmund have been in a UEFA Champions League Group Stage with a club from Spain.
- Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 14 Champions League Group Stage games and have lost just one of their last 28 at this stage of the competition.
- Borussia Dortmund have won just two of their last eight Champions League home matches, losing their last match there: 0-1 against Tottenham Hotspur in the Last 16 in the 2018-19 campaign.
- 16 of the last 17 defeats suffered by Barcelona in the Champions League have come in away matches: two of which have come in Germany (both by Bayern Munich).
Player to Watch
Borussia Dortmund star Alcacer is currently one of the most in-form strikers in Europe, having already netted five goals in four league matches this season. He was in excellent form as the Black and Yellows inflicted a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Leverkusen in the last game, scoring the opening goal.
It will be an emotional game for the Spaniard, who will be facing Barcelona for the first time since leaving the club last summer, initially on loan before making the move to Germany permanent. He will, no doubt, be desperate to perform against his old club and prove them wrong, having received very little chances to perform during his time in Catalonia.
Alcacer has a seemingly telepathic combination with the likes of Reus and Sancho, which is surely going to cause problems for the opposition. Hence, it’s imperative that Valverde finds a way to stop this talismanic striker from scoring if Barcelona are to salvage anything from this game.
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 FC Barcelona
It will be tricky for both the sides involved. But, Dortmund may have the upper hand due to their home advantage, coupled with the fact that they are in a much better form. Hence, the hosts could narrowly win this encounter, if they can remain organised at the back.