Round of 16 entry, qualifying round or a decision on the last game day: anything is possible for Borussia Dortmund in the early group final at Sporting Lisbon.
Captain Marco Reus and his teammates strolled down the gangway in their fine top-class suits. A little more tension arose on board flight EW 1909 just before landing in Lisbon when looking at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. In the vociferous home of the Portuguese champions Sporting, BVB definitely wants to get the round of 16 ticket in the Champions League on Wednesday (9:00 p.m. / DAZN) – but a crazy all-or-nothing game threatens to end prematurely.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us. We should tackle it and win. Then the topic is over,” said managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke, who swore coach Marco Rose’s team to winter in the sportily attractive and financially lucrative premier class. “The game in Lisbon is extremely important to us,” said sporting director Michael Zorc.
Anything can happen for the DFB Cup winner in the Portuguese capital. In the event of a win, they are sure to make it into the knockout round, in the event of a draw, Dortmund held all the trumps in their hands before the last group game against Besiktas Istanbul. In the event of a defeat with one goal, there would still be a glimmer of hope, a bankruptcy with at least two goals difference would mean the end of all Champions League dreams.
BVB games against Ajax “sobering”
For national player Julian Brandt, the chance of success is greater than the risk of failure. “We can go there with a broad chest, even if the games against Ajax were sobering,” said Brandt, recalling the two painful defeats against Dutch record champions Ajax Amsterdam, who had already qualified as group winners for the round of 16.
After landing in 15 degrees and sunshine, Rose had staff problems. Defense chief Mats Hummels is red-banned, striker Erling Haaland is still missing due to his hip flexor injury. The problems on the offensive are compounded by Thorgan Hazard (COVID-19) and Giovanni Reyna (advanced training).
So the hopes against the table runners-up in the Portuguese league rest primarily on Reus and Donyell Malen. The 30 million newcomer scored the only goal in the first leg and scored in the league for the first time in the arduous dress rehearsal against VfB Stuttgart (2: 1). “I’m optimistic about his game,” said Rose of painting.
The Dortmunders are supported by 2100 fans in Lisbon. This help should also be necessary, because Sporting should not be underestimated. The defending champion is still undefeated in eleven league games and only conceded four goals. “A good opponent,” said Rose.
Despite the failures, BVB has the higher quality. “We know that we are the better team if we use our potential,” said central defender Manuel Akanji the “kicker”. We have to prove it on Wednesday.
The probable lineups:
Lissabon: Adan – Goncalo Inacio, Coates, Feddal – Pedro Porro, Joao Palhinha, Matheus Nunes, Matheus Reis – Pedro Goncalves, Paulinho, Sarabia. – Trainer: Amorim
Dortmund: Kobel – Meunier, Akanji, Pongracic (Zagadou), Guerreiro – Witsel – Brandt, Bellingham – Reus, Malen, Knauff (Tigges). – Coach: Rose
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (Spain)