Borussia Dortmund will aim to end their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign on a positive note when they face Besiktas on Tuesday.

Borussia Dortmund are going through a turbulent period right now. If Saturday’s defeat in Der Klassiker was not enough, the Bundesliga giants are already out of the UEFA Champions League after suffering three back to back defeats in the group stages.

They are currently third in Group C with just six points on the board. Due to an inferior head to head record against Sporting CP, they have no chance of finishing second, even if results go in their favour in the last matchday. At the same time, they have their third-placed secured, which means Die Schwarzgelben are guaranteed Europa League action during the second half of the campaign.

It essentially makes Tuesday’s clash against Besiktas a dead rubber, as they wave goodbye to the Champions League, at least for the next nine months or so. But after a disappointing campaign and a morale-sapping defeat to Bayern, it will be imperative for Dortmund to get back on the winning track ahead of a crucial match-up against Bochum on the weekend.

Dortmund’s midweek opponent, Besiktas, meanwhile, are heading into this contest with zero points collected from five matches. They have been quite disappointing on the domestic front as well, as they are dawdling in mid-table.

In fact, Besiktas have won only one out of their last nine competitive matches, making them the undisputed underdogs despite their opponent’s miserable run in the Champions League this term. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their match-up at Signal Iduna Park this midweek.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund were boosted by the return of key players like Erling Haaland, Raphael Guerreiro and Mahmoud Dahoud. And it appears Giovanni Reyna could be the latest player to return this midweek, although the American international is most likely to start on the bench.

On the flip side, Julian Brandt endured a nasty head injury. Although the club confirmed the injury was not serious, it is likely that the German will be left out of this affair. More importantly, head coach Marco Rose has confirmed that he won’t play the likes of Haaland, Dahoud and Guerreiro for long while confirming a starting spot for Donyell Malen.

Malen’s return and Brandt’s likely absence, though, could force Marco Reus operate deeper than usual. He is set to form the team’s advanced midfield trifecta alongside Mahmoud Dahoud and Jude Bellingham, although his availability remains unknown after DFB’s referee associate filed defamation charges against the midfielder for speaking up against Felix Zwayer on the weekend.

Reinier is in line to cover for Bellingham in case he misses out, but the Englishman is likely to feature in this game. As for Emre Can, he is suspended for this game after picking up a red card against Sporting. Axel Witsel, therefore, is a guaranteed starter in the holding midfield role, as Rose looks to add a bit more composure in the middle of the park, knowing Dortmund are set to dominate possession in this game.

Defensively, Akanji could be given a breather after recovering from a late injury before the Bayern game. The same cannot be said for Mats Hummels, who will be hoping to recover some confidence with a strong display against Besiktas. The veteran centre-back is likely to spearhead the BVB alongside Dan-Axel Zagadou, whereas Thomas Meunier and Nico Schulz may occupy the full-back slots.

While the starting eleven almost picks itself, there could be many changes either at half-time or around the hour mark. Steffen Tigges, Reinier, Marius Wolf and Ansgar Knauff are among the players in contention to play the majority of the second half.

Probable Lineup (4-1-3-2): Kobel; Meunier, Hummels, Zagadou, Schulz; Witsel; Bellingham, Reus, Dahoud; Haaland, Malen



Besiktas head coach Sergen Yalcin will need to be clever with his team selection due to the absence of some of the key players, including Georges Kevin N’Koudou and Alex Teixeira. Gokhan Tore is a doubt as well, and it appears unlikely Yalcin will be keen on risking any of them ahead of the crucial league encounter against Kayserispor.

Nevertheless, the Black Eagles do still have significant firepower upfront in the form of Michy Batshuayi and Cyle Larin. Although the latter is likely to operate out wide in a 4-1-4-1, the onus will be on the Canadian international to offer the pace on the break.

Meanwhile, Rachid Ghezzal and Miralem Pjanic remain vital creative outlets in the second line of press, partnered by the well-experienced figure of Atiba Hutchinson. They are expected to form the second bank of four for Besiktas, just in front of the backline covered by Souza.

Defensively, Besiktas are likely to adopt a deep defensive line in an attempt to frustrate the Dortmund attackers. The key will be to provide Haaland with minimal space in behind the backline, which means both Domagoj Vida and Francisco Montero should operate deep, with additional reliance on the pace of full-backs Fabrice N’Sakala and Valentin Rosier.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Destanoglu; Rosier, Vida, Montero, N’Sakala; Souza; Ghezzal, Pjanic, Hutchinson, Larin; Batshuayi


Key Stats

  • Marco Reus is Dortmund’s record Champions League scorer, with 19 goals in 55 games ahead of Robert Lewandowski (17), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (15), and Erling Haaland (13).
  • Jude Bellingham is joint fourth in this season’s Champions League assist charts, with three.
  • Dortmund have won three of their four home games against Turkish clubs in UEFA competitions.
  • Besiktas have lost four of their six games in Germany, including a 5-0 loss at Bayern on their most recent visit in 2018.
  • Michy Batshuayi spent the second half of the 2017/18 season on loan at Dortmund, scoring seven goals in ten Bundesliga appearances and two more in four Europa League outings.

Player to Watch

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland is undoubtedly the man worth keeping an eye on as he makes his much-awaited return to the Champions League following an unfortunate injury layoff. The three games he missed resulted in back to back defeats for his Dortmund team, and hence, his quality in front of goal could be required, as the Black and Yellows look to get back to winning ways.

Haaland has an incredible record in the Champions League with Dortmund, scoring 13 times in 12 matches, failing to fire on only four occasions. He was already on target in the team’s last two games against Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich, making him the undisputed danger man for the Turkish giants.


Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Besiktas

Signal Iduna Park has been a fortress for Borussia Dortmund under Marco Rose. Barring a defeat to Ajax and, most recently, Bayern Munich, the Black and Yellows have looked almost unbeatable. That is not expected to change when they play hosts to Besiktas this midweek.

The Turkish giants have struggled a lot this season, failing to find the productivity upfront while looking very vulnerable defensively. Dortmund, in contrast, are shining brightly, thanks to Erling Haaland’s recent fitness issue. And with that in mind, we are expecting a comfortable 3-1 victory for the hosts on Tuesday.

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