Borussia Dortmund will look to sneak ahead of Barcelona and Inter Milan as they meet Slavia Praha in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
Borussia Dortmund have been on a rough patch, of late, having failed to win any of their last three matches in all competitions. Their latest result was a 2-2 draw against Werder Bremen, where a second-half goal from Marco Friedl denied them a win.
This week, they will travel to Prague, hoping to put an end to their winless streak as they lock horns with Slavia Praha in the UEFA Champions League. They were held to a goalless draw in their opening game against Barcelona and with the Spanish champions facing Inter Milan in the other fixture, Dortmund will look to get a potential three-point advantage.
However, things could be tricky against Slavia Praha, who caused the tournament’s first big upset, drawing with Inter in the opening matchday. The Czech champions outplayed their Italian rivals throughout the entirety of the game but were unlucky as a late goal from Nicolo Barella restored parity.
Nonetheless, salvaging at least a point against Dortmund will be their main priority this week. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides as clash heads at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague on Tuesday, in what will be the second matchday of this season’s Champions League Group Stage.
Team News & Tactics
The biggest boost for Slavia Praha manager Jindrich Trpisovsky is that his side does not have a single injury worry ahead of their clash against Borussia Dortmund. That means there is a big chance that the 43-year-old could call up the same team that started against Inter Milan.
It makes sense as well as Trpisovky’s trusted 4-3-1-2 has two strikers leading the line. Those two will look to form the first line of press and put pressure on the Dortmund defence that has looked really susceptible under Lucien Favre. Lukas Masopust and Peter Olayinka are likely to occupy those two positions.
Nicolae Stanciu, meanwhile, will look to provide the creative essence to the team, operating as the lone attacking midfielder. He will be partnered by the trio of Josef Husbauer, Ibrahim Benjamin Traore and Tomas Soucek in central midfield. Husbauer is the club’s top scorer this season with four league goals.
Slavia Praha have a pretty balance defensive unit, comprising of Vladimir Coufal, Ondrej Kudela, David Hovorka and Jan Boril. These four defenders will be having a busy evening dealing with a Borussia Dortmund side that has one of the best attacking units in Europe.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Kolar; Coufal, Kudela, Hovorka, Boril; Traore, Husbauer, Soucek; Stanciu; Masopust, Olayinka
Favre made a few odd changes to the team against Bremen, and he is expected to revert those changes this midweek. That means Mahmoud Dahoud could return to the bench, paving the way for Thomas Delaney to form the double-pivot in midfield, along with the ever-present figure of Axel Witsel.
Lukasz Piszczek could be given a breather in this one, having featured against Bremen. The Pole will make way for Raphael Guerreiro, who will shift into a left-back. As a result, Achraf Hakimi will return to his preferred right-back slot.
Mats Hummels was by far the best player for Dortmund against Barcelona two weeks ago. The experienced German will return to the side as well, at the expense of Julian Weigl. Hummels will be partnered by Manuel Akanji at the heart of Dortmund’s four-man backline.
In attack, Paco Alcacer could replace Mario Gotze in the number nine slot. The Spaniard has lacked consistency in the past few weeks and will be looking to rekindle his scoring form.
Alcacer will be supported by the creative trio of Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Julian Brandt, who will come into the starting eleven, replacing Thorgan Hazard.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Hakimi, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Brandt; Alcacer
- This will be the first-ever contest between these two sides, with this the ninth meeting between a Czech and German team in the Champions League.
- Borussia Dortmund have won both of their Champions League meetings with Czech Republic-based teams, winning twice versus Sparta Prague.
- Borussia Dortmund have found the back of the net in 18 of their last 20 away games in the Champions League group stages.
- Since winning their first Champions League game in September 2007, Slavia Prague have failed to win any of their last six matches in this competition.
- Dortmund have failed to score in five of their last six Champions League games.
Player to Watch
Hakimi has found Piszczek to be a massive stumbling block in his growth at Dortmund. The Pole has often been preferred ahead of the Moroccan at right-back. As a result, he has either had to start on the opposite flank or settle for a place on the bench.
This week, however, Hakimi will have the opportunity to prove his worth at the right-back slot. His ability to drive forward with pace and combine with the likes of Sancho and Reus could be critical as the visitors look to tear apart a Prague defence that was solid in the last game against Inter Milan.
An impressive display tomorrow will help Hakimi strengthen his claim of becoming Dortmund’s first choice right-back. Hence, he is one to keep an eye on in this enticing fixture.
Slavia Praha 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund are low in confidence heading into this game. But, their attack has never been a problem. And so we expect the Black and Yellows to storm through the Slavia Praha defence and score at least three goals. However, their weak defence might let them down once again.