Borussia Dortmund are looking to get back to winning ways as they welcome Sporting CP at Signal Iduna Park this midweek.
After a horrid performance against Borussia Monchengladbach on the weekend, Borussia Dortmund are hoping to recover and get back to winning ways as they welcome Sporting CP on Tuesday, at the Signal Iduna Park.
This game will serve as part of the second matchday in the UEFA Champions League group stages. The hosts, heading into this game on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Gladbach, had secured a comfortable 2-1 victory over Besiktas in their first game. But they will require another victory in order to put pressure on Ajax.
Sporting CP are expected to pose a strong challenge, though, after getting ripped apart by Ajax in the opening fixture, losing 5-1 to the Dutch champions. It places the Portuguese champions at the bottom of Group C, but at least a point against Dortmund could go a long way in bringing some confidence back into the camp.
The Lions have remained unbeaten in Primeira Liga so far, securing 17 points in 7 matches. Dortmund, in contrast, slipped to fourth in the league table after losing to Gladbach, though they are the undisputed favourites heading into this game.
The additional backing from the home fans should be a massive boost for the Die Schwarzgelben. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their crucial encounter in the UEFA Champions League this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
Borussia Dortmund were dealt with a massive blow on the weekend, with both Marco Reus and Erling Haaland picking up injuries during training. The club was hopeful of their return for this midweek game, but it appears both of them are now doubts, which could once again see Donyell Malen spearheading the Dortmund attack.
🎙 Marco Rose:
“Julian Brandt trained fully yesterday, and if everything works smoothly again today, he is an option for tomorrow. For Erling Haaland and Marco Reus we have to wait until final training, it will be tight." pic.twitter.com/XvieKcFVgQ
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) September 27, 2021
Alongside him, Thorgan Hazard is likely to be given the nod ahead of Youssoufa Moukoko, with Marco Rose himself set to revert to a 4-2-2-2 formation. But with Marco Reus and Giovanni Reyna missing, it will be a challenge for him to find a tactically astute number ten.
Julian Brandt has fortunately returned to full fitness and is in contention to feature against Sporting. But there remains doubt over his starting place in the side, so Rose might think out of the box and employ Raphael Guerreiro in the advanced midfield role alongside Jude Bellingham.
As for the central midfield, Emre Can remains out injured, which should solidify a place for Axel Witsel in the team. The Belgian is under pressure to perform after being subjected to criticism in the game against Gladbach. He needs to offer more dynamism in midfield, alongside Mahmoud Dahoud, whose rash challenges sabotaged BVB’s chances against the Foals.
Defensively, Guerreiro operating in a more advanced role should see Nico Schulz return to the starting eleven. Thomas Meunier, though, remains a guaranteed starter, forming the Dortmund backline alongside Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji while goalkeeper Gregor Kobel is looking for his first clean sheet for Die Schwarzgelben.
Probable Lineup (4-2-2-2): Kobel; Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Schulz; Witsel, Dahoud; Bellingham, Guerreiro; Hazard, Malen
Sporting CP head coach Ruben Amorim will have to deal with a few key absentees as well, including Goncalo Inacio and Pedro Goncalves. The two Portuguese internationals were a vital part of his defensive and attacking units, though the return of Sebastian Coates will certainly serve as a massive boost for the visitors.
— Sporting Clube de Portugal 🏆 (@Sporting_CP) September 27, 2021
The former Sunderland centre-back had missed the Ajax game due to suspension but is in contention to feature at the heart of Sporting’s three-man backline alongside Luis Neto and Zouhair Feddal.
In the wing-back setup, Dortmund will be taking a close look at Pedro Porro on the right hand side. With the club lacking quality at right-back, the Spaniard’s technical prowess and offensive support could make him a potential target in the future.
Nevertheless, Porro will be a part of Sporting’s second line of press involving Ruben Vinagre on the opposite flank as well as the two central midfielders in Matheus Nunes and Joao Palhinha. They are set to play a vital role in offering solidity in the middle of the park as well as closing down the Dortmund ball-carriers.
As for the attacking unit, Paulinho should spearhead the frontline for the Portuguese champions, with additional support from Pablo Sarabia and Nuno Santos.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Adan; Neto, Coates, Feddal; Porro, Palhinha, Nunes, Vinagre; Sarabia, Paulinho, Santos
- Jude Bellingham is the youngest player to score in two consecutive Champions League games, beating Kylian Mbappe’s previous record by seven days.
- Borussia Dortmund boast a perfect home record against Portuguese visitors in UEFA competitions, with six wins from six matches, 17 goals scored and only two conceded.
- Aged 16 years, 10 months and five days on the day of the fixture, Youssoufa Moukoko could become the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history.
- Erling Haaland is the youngest player to reach 21 goals in the Champions League. He has achieved the feat in 10 games fewer than any other player, with Ruud van Nistelrooy the next closest (27 appearances).
- Sporting have lost seven of their last eight away matches in the Champions League group stage and suffered 12 defeats in their 13 previous games away to German clubs, the exception being a goalless draw at Bayern Munich in the 2006/07 groups.
Player to Watch
🎙 Marco Rose:
“Donyell Malen has to stay positive and pick up where he started. We have to be patient with him, hopefully it will work out soon with a goal.” pic.twitter.com/A8xzem4Ouo
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) September 27, 2021
With Haaland set to miss out this crucial Champions League encounter, this game could once again revolve around Donyell Malen. The new signing from PSV Eindhoven has had a difficult time since arriving in the Bundesliga, struggling to make his presence felt in the final third. He is yet to even become involved in a single goal or assist for his new club.
Malen’s performances against Gladbach further fueled all the criticism towards the Dutchman, who is now in desperate need of improved performance in order to avoid being branded as an early flop. Coach Marco Rose has offered him a hand of support, but it soon needs to be backed up by performances.
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Sporting CP
This could be a bizarre game for Borussia Dortmund, who are missing significant creative and productive firepower upfront. At the end of the day, they may rely on set-pieces to breach the Sporting backline, but perhaps more importantly, we are expecting the Black and Yellows to register their first clean sheet of the campaign, as the defence has only gotten better since the arrival of Hummels.
The Sporting attack, on the other hand, has lost a bit of fuel thanks to the absence of Goncalves, so this promises to be a low-scoring encounter with Dortmund coming out as the slight favourites to seal all three points.