Borussia Dortmund will hope to maintain their winning form when they lock horns with Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Following a disastrous start to their UEFA Champions League campaign, Borussia Dortmund have fought back well, securing back-to-back wins. And on Tuesday, they will have the opportunity to extend their winning run to three games in the competition when they welcome Club Brugge at the Signal Iduna Park.
The Black and Yellows were simply sublime in their 5-2 win over Hertha Berlin on the weekend after initially starting the game poorly. Lucien Favre’s men will be hoping for a similar performance this midweek, knowing three points could go a long way in securing their place in the knockout rounds.
However, any mishap against Club Brugge could potentially change the look of Group F as the Belgians will then overtake Dortmund with a total of seven points on the board. Lazio, meanwhile, have a game against the struggling Zenit St. Petersburg and a victory over the Russian outfit could potentially take them to the top, leaving BVB in grave danger.
Club Brugge do have a mountain to climb if their 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture was any indication. Philippe Clement’s men were completely overwhelmed by the attacking prowess of the Bundesliga giants, so it will be interesting to see if there will be any change of plans from the visitors heading into this game.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this crucial Group F encounter in the UEFA Champions League this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
There could be a lot of chops and changes made by Lucien Favre this midweek as the Borussia Dortmund coach looks to deal with the hectic schedule of the 2020/21 campaign. Marco Reus and Julian Brandt, in particular, were both given starts against Hertha Berlin; so this time, we could expect Giovanni Reyna and Jadon Sancho to get back into the side.
Both these players were busy during the international break so the rest in midweek should give them the ideal boost they need as they look to provide the creative support to Erling Haaland in the final third. Meanwhile, there is a possibility Youssoufa Moukoko could once again be handed a substitute appearance, in which case, he will become the youngster player in the history of the Champions League.
Thorgan Hazard is another player pushing for a start this midweek after failing to feature against Hertha Berlin on Saturday. His presence in the team means Favre is likely to shift to a four-man backline, with Hazard and Sancho operating on the flanks and Reyna occupying the number ten role.
There will be a shuffle in midfield as well, with Jude Bellingham and Thomas Delaney set to replace Axel Witsel and Mahmoud Dahoud in the double-pivot. These two players will play a key role in the second line of press, and with Club Brugge likely to operate narrow, their ball-progression could be essential to Dortmund’s fortunes in this fixture.
And finally, in defence, Favre could rest his key player Raphael Guerreiro, paving the way for Felix Passlack to receive a rare opportunity at left-back. Thomas Meunier, however, is expected to continue on the opposite flank despite having a busy season so far.
Mats Hummels, too, is expected to retain his place in the starting lineup, partnering Manuel Akanji at the heart of the backline. It essentially means that Emre Can might have to settle for a place on the bench unless he features in midfield while Dan-Axel Zagadou still remains a doubt due to his fitness problems.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Meunier, Hummels, Akanji, Passlack; Bellingham, Delaney; Sancho, Reyna, Hazard; Haaland
Philippe Clement deployed a four-man backline when Club Brugge met Borussia Dortmund last time out. And we are expecting a similar outcome this midweek as the Belgian coach is missing out on the services of the defensive trifecta of Matej Mitrovic, Eduard Sobol (Covid-19) and Federico Ricca.
Young Maxim de Cuyper may have to deputise Sobol at left-back, which is a big ask given the fact that he will likely be facing Jadon Sancho. He will be supported by the two central defenders in Simon Deli and Belgian international Brandon Mechele, although Odilon Kossounou is another should Clement favour a three-man backline.
— Club Brugge KV (@ClubBrugge) November 23, 2020
Nevertheless, in midfield, the combination of Hans Vanaken, Mats Rits and club captain Ruud Vormer could play a key role in neutralising Borussia Dortmund’s creative prowess. They are expected to operate in a narrow, compact shape, offering the Black and Yellows very little space in between the lines – something Hertha Berlin did really well in the first half on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the attacking third, young Belgian international, Charles De Ketelaere will be hoping to provide some creative substance alongside Krepin Diatta in the wider attacking positions. However, it won’t be surprising to see them operate deeper in order to provide additional defensive support to the full-backs.
The Club Brugge attack should be spearheaded by Emmanuel Dennis, who is desperate to impress following an underwhelming performance in the reverse fixture and a poor season in general so far.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mignolet; Mata, Deli, Mechele, De Cuyper; Vormer, Rits, Vanaken; Diatta, Dennis, De Ketelaere
- Giovanni Reyna, who turned 18 on 13 November 2020, is already the youngest American to appear and assist a goal in the Champions League. He could yet become his homeland’s greenest scorer in the competition. The record to beat is 18 years and 171 days, held by Christian Pulisic.
- Should Youssoufa Moukoko feature, he will become the youngest player in Champions League history. Celestine Babayaro holds the current record, having started for Anderlecht against Steaua Bucharest in the 1994/95 group stage, aged 16 years and 87 days.
- Borussia Dortmund have scored 33 goals in 13 competitive matches this season.
- Thomas Meunier was part of the Club Brugge side that won the league title in 2015/16 having lifted the Belgian Cup the previous season. He was at the club between 2011 and 2016, scoring 19 goals in 198 appearances in all competitions.
- Defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 3 was Brugge’s 17th in the Champions League (W2 D7). The Belgians have only won one of 12 fixtures against German clubs (D3 L8).
Player to Watch
Erling Haaland is currently one of the most talked-about footballers in the world right now. The Borussia Dortmund forward was recently awarded the Golden Boy award, which was followed by his incredible performance against Hertha Berlin that saw him score four goals in the second half.
In the Champions League, Haaland has netted a total of 14 goals in just 11 outings, which is remarkable for a 20-year-old. In fact, he scored a brace in the reverse fixture where Dortmund secured a 3-0 victory. And with this kind of form, the Norwegian international could once again be a menace for Club Brugge defence this midweek.
Therefore, it will be imperative for Clement’s men to keep a close eye on Haaland. The key will be to stop all the supply and play with a narrow and compact shape, giving the striker very little time and space to make his runs in behind the backline.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Club Brugge
This could be a game of two halves like we saw at the Olympiastadion on Saturday. Borussia Dortmund have appeared relatively slow on the turf during the first half an hour of games this season but could dominate once the opposition gets tired.
Die Schwarzgelben looked very blunt in the first half against Hertha, but they should not find any difficulty in breaching the gates of the Club Brugge defence that has looked quite vulnerable this campaign. Haaland’s pace and power, combined with the introduction of Sancho and Reyna should easily help them seal another convincing victory over their Belgian opponents on Tuesday.