Borussia Dortmund will be aiming to extend their winning streak to four matches when they face off against Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund will take a trip to Belgium this week as they gear up to take on Club Brugge in their third Group F encounter of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
Club Brugge currently occupy the second spot in the group, level on points with leaders Lazio but behind on goal difference. The Belgian outfit started their European campaign with a win against Zenit St. Petersburg, which was followed by a 1-1 draw against Lazio last time out. They head into the upcoming game on the back of a disappointing 2-2 draw against Mechelen in the league.
Borussia Dortmund, too, are on four points after two matches but are third in the group standings. The Black and Yellows were hammered by Lazio in their first Champions League clash but have bounced back strongly since, winning three games in a row, including a 2-0 triumph over Zenit last week. Their latest game ended in a 2-0 win against Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga.
Ahead of what promises to be a fascinating Group F encounter at the Jan Breydel Stadium on Wednesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
ℹ️ Our 22 names for #CLUBVB 🔵⚫
— Club Brugge KV (@ClubBrugge) November 3, 2020
Philippe Clement pretty much has a clean bill of health ahead of Dortmund’s visit. The Club Brugge boss is likely to be without the services of Simon Deli for the game, with the rest of the squad fit and available. While the manager usually sets his team up in a 4-3-3, he might use a 3-5-2 formation on Wednesday after tasting success with the setup against Lazio.
The three-man backline of Clinton Mata, Odilon Kossounou and Brandon Mechele will be shielding former Liverpool custodian Simon Mignolet in the Brugge goal. Krepin Diatta and Eduard Sobol will be in charge of providing the width going forward but will need to be wary of Dortmund’s marauding full-backs in Thomas Meunier and Raphael Guerreiro.
Mats Rits will sit the deepest of the three central midfielders and look to disrupt Dortmund’s rhythm, with support coming from Ruud Vormer. Hans Vanaken, who scored in the draw against Lazio last time out, will occupy the third slot in midfield and look to move forward and help out in attack.
Emmanuel Dennis will pair up with Charles De Ketelaere at the top for the home team and look to cause problems to an injury-hit Dortmund backline with their pace and movement.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Mignolet; Mata, Kossounou, Mechele; Diatta, Vormer, Rits, Vanaken, Sobol; De Ketelaere, Dennis
Lucien Favre has several injury issues to contend with heading into Wednesday’s clash. The Dortmund boss was already without Emre Can (coronavirus) and Dan-Axel Zagadou (knee), but will also have to deal with the absence of Mats Hummels who picked up a thigh injury against Arminia Bielefeld.
🎙 Lucien Favre:
“We don't know anything about Erling’s status yet. But if he were to be unavailable we have a lot of strong offensive alternatives." pic.twitter.com/eRHUCXobwR
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) November 3, 2020
Apart from the trio, Marcel Schmelzer and Nico Schulz are also ruled out, while star striker Erling Haaland is a doubt for the fixture as well. With Manuel Akanji being the only fit centre-back at his disposal, the manager might be tempted to revert to a three-man defence of Lukasz Piszczek and Thomas Delaney to shore things up at the back.
Thomas Meunier is a permanent fixture in the right wing-back slot, while Raphael Guerreiro should return on the left side after being rested at the weekend. Roman Burki is the obvious choice to slot in between the sticks for the Black and Yellows.
Axel Witsel has started both of Dortmund’s Champions League fixtures this term and should feature again in Brugge while Mahmoud Dahoud is likely to get the nod alongside him ahead of youngster Jude Bellingham.
Jadon Sancho, who is starting to find some form, ought to start on the right while Gio Reyna should feature on the left, even though he found the going tough against Zenit last week in the Champions League. With Haaland a doubt for the game, Marco Reus might start through the middle, although Julian Brandt is also an option for the manager.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Piszczek, Akanji, Delaney; Meunier, Witsel, Dahoud, Guerreiro; Sancho, Reus, Reyna
- This is the seventh meeting between Club Brugge and Borussia Dortmund in all European competitions. The last time these two sides met was in the group stages of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League. The Black and Yellows 1-0 away and played out a goalless draw at home.
- Having lost their first three away games in Belgium in European competitions, Borussia Dortmund have won their last three such fixtures in a row.
- Club Brugge have won just one of their last ten fixtures in the Champions League. However, that victory did come in the current campaign against Zenit St. Petersburg.
- Should Dortmund win on Wednesday, it will be the first time since October 2018 that they would have won consecutive group games in the Champions League.
- Club Brugge are without a win at home in the Champions League in their last 11 fixtures (D5 L6). The last time they won a UCL game in their own backyard was in November 2005.
Player to Watch
After all the rumours and speculations of a potential summer transfer to Manchester United, Jadon Sancho stayed put at Borussia Dortmund. However, naturally, all the talk of a move has had some effect on the England international’s form, meaning he has had a rather slow start to the new season.
But, of late, Sancho has shown signs of getting back to his best. The 20-year-old has one goal and two assists in his last three matches and will be aiming to build on it this midweek. Him getting back into his groove will be critical for Dortmund, with an important game against Bayern Munich coming up at the weekend.
Club Brugge 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund head into the game with just one fit centre-back and Brugge will look to exploit this with the pace of their attackers. So, there is a good chance that the visitors’ three-game run without conceding a goal will come to an end on Wednesday.
At the same time, the Black and Yellows seem to be clicking in attack with Sancho showing steady improvement in recent games, while the likes of Reus, Brandt and Thorgan Hazard, among others, add plenty of quality as well. And that is why The Hard Tackle is predicting Favre & co. to return with three points from Belgium.