Borussia Dortmund will be full of confidence when they host Polish champions Legia Warszawa in the Champions League tonight. First of all, the Black and Yellows have defeated the mighty Bayern at home and are on the back two successive wins. Secondly, the team has already qualified for the knockout stages prior to the game and will have less pressure to perform tonight.
A win against Legia would mean Thomas Tuchel’s men needing only a point against Spanish giants Real Madrid to finish as group leaders. That’s obviously no easy feat but Tuchel can take a good heart from his side’s performance in the Champions League thus far.
On match day one, these sides met for a very first time, which ended in a 6:0 defeat for Legia. A game where Dortmund managed to get as many as 15 shots on target, most by a team in a Champions League game this season.
Moreover, Legia’s record in the Champions League is far from good; the Militarians are winless away from home in the competition, drawing one and losing five, while conceding 14 in the process. Their games have also produced the most goals than any other team this campaign, with 20. In fact, Legia Warsaw have conceded more goals than any other team this season, they are close to breaking the previous record which transpired in the 2014/15 Champions League group stage season where BATE Borisov had conceded 24 goals!
But hold your horses! The Legioniści are actually unbeaten in five games in all competition. After a 5:1 humiliation to Real Madrid, the Polish champions are back on track, winning their previous four matches in the Ekstraklasa, which included a 2:1 victory against rivals Lech Poznan. Legia also did extremely well to stop Real Madrid in the return fixture, where they managed to score three goals – as many as they had managed in their past ten Champions League games! Dortmund centre-back Matthias Ginter already insisted “We should be worried about a team who scored 3 against Real Madrid.”
Borussia Dortmund, on the other hand, are also a side getting back on track after a rather dull start to the season. Die Schwarzgelben failed to win a single game in October but have won all their three matches in November. They reached the knockout stage for a fourth consecutive time – the longest run in club’s history, when they beat Portuguese outfit Sporting CP. BVB are also unbeaten in their last eight matches all competition as well as any Polish opponents in European competitions.
Thomas Tuchel’s men have been unstoppable at home ever since he was appointed as the coach last season. In the Bundesliga, his side hold a 27-game unbeaten streak at home, and their last defeat at home came against Bayern in April 2015, when Jürgen Klopp was still in charge of BVB.
The Klassiker victory saw a few Dortmund players picking up injuries. Roman Bürki has been the latest victim of that, the Swiss international has suffered a metacarpal fracture and will be out for two months, meaning Roman Weidenfeller will start in goal for Dortmund. Centre-back Sven Bender remains out due to his foot injury.
Erik Durm made a comeback from injury when he came on as a late substitute against Bayern in the weekend so he is fit to play against Legia Warsaw. While vice-captain Marcel Schmelzer is out due to cold, Raphael Guerreiro will also be doubtful to feature.
The good news for Die Borussen is, however, that star winger and club captain Marco Reus is set to come back from injury after six months out due to injury. The 27-year old German international was seen training along with Mario Götze and is expected to make the bench against the Polish opponents.
As for Legia, there won’t be many absentees apart from Thomas Moulin, who has a muscular problem.
Borussia Dortmund: (4-1-4-1 formation) Roman Weidenfeller; Felix Passlack, Matthias Ginter, Marc Bartra, Erik Durm; Nuri Sahin; Christian Pulisic, Andre Schurrle, Gonzalo Castro, Ousmane Dembele; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Legia Warszawa: (4-5-1 formation) Arkadiusz Malarz; Bartosz Bereszyński, Michal Pazdan, Jakub Rzeźniczak, Adam Hloušek; Guilherme, Michal Kopczyński, Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, Miroslav Radović, Michal Kucharczyk; Nemanja Nikolić.
Dortmund 2:0 Warsaw