Finally, after a wait of 104 days since the last UEFA Champions League action, On Wednesday night at the Westfalenstadion, Borussia Dortmund will host Premier League team Chelsea in the opening leg of their round of 16 UEFA Champions League matchup.
Even though being in the top flight for more than a decade, the match between Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea will take place for the first time ever in the UEFA Champions League.
The Bundesliga team hasn’t had the finest recent record in Europe versus English teams; in their last 10 matches against Premier League opposition, BVB has lost eight and drawn two games. Their most recent victory over an English club team came in the UEFA Europa League in March 2016, when they defeated Tottenham Hotspur (2-1) in London – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, now a striker for Chelsea, scored both of goals for Dortmund on that occasion.
Graham Potter, the manager of Chelsea, will attempt to emulate Sir Bobby Robson’s accomplishment of being only the second English coach to defeat German opposition on the road in the UCL (who did it twice). Potter has performed well for the Blues in Champions League play; the former Brighton manager is unbeaten in five games and has won the last four.
Should Chelsea come out of this victorious, Graham Potter will become the first English manager to win five successive UCL games. Though, looking at Dortmund & their record at home it’ll be a tough ask for the visitors. Borussia Dortmund have lost just four of their last 21 Champions League fixtures at home (W10 D7 L4), although three of these defeats have come against English opponents – two defeats against Spurs (2-1 in 2017-18 and 1-0 in 2018-19) and one versus Man City (2-1 in 2020-21).
Chelsea’s form (all competitions): D D D W L.
Chelsea has won nine out of its 23 competitive games since Graham Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel in mid-September. They have gone four games without losing in all competitions and have only given up one goal during that time, but the last three of those games have all ended in draws.
Dortmund’s form (all competitions): W W W W W.
Borussia Dortmund has been playing remarkably lately. Since the World Cup ended, Germany has won all six of its competitive games, including five in the Bundesliga and one in the DFB Pokal against top-flight Bochum.
When & Where?
DATE: Wednesday, 15th of February.
TIME: 10:00 PM GMT.
VENUE: Signal Iduna Park stadium, Dortmund city, Germany.
Players to watch
He may still be only 19 years old, but Jude Bellingham is a vital character in Edin Terzić’s BVB side. Despite still being a teenager, he was named club captain in the summer and possessed the ability to manage the game’s pace. Bellingham has been a part of 135 different open-play sequences that have resulted in a BVB shot throughout all competitions in 2022–23. Amazingly, Bellingham leads both the “shot attempted” and the “build-up participation” categories in the measure, demonstrating how important he is in setting up play as well as how frequently he pops up and converts chances. He is a true all-around midfielder.
Enzo Fernández, who won the 2022 World Cup, is undoubtedly the man Chelsea might be able to use to keep Bellingham in check. The midfielder, who joined Chelsea from Benfica in January for just under £107 million, has performed admirably in his Premier League appearances for Chelsea thus far. Fernández completed 88% of his 171 passes while making the most tackles (9), interceptions (4), and possession wins (17) for the Blues throughout the course of his two games against Fulham and West Ham.
Due to his ongoing recovery from a severe knee injury, Mateu Morey is unlikely to return in time for this game. Youssoufa Moukoko should join Abdoulaye Kamara on the sidelines after suffering an injury against Werder Bremen over the weekend.
N’Golo Kante, Edouard Mendy, Armando Broja, and former Borussia Dortmund attacker Christian Pulisic are among the first-team players still out of the Chelsea lineup. Although they are all close to playing again, Wesley Fofana, Mateo Kovacic, Raheem Sterling, and Denis Zakaria are unlikely to appear on Wednesday. Benoit Badiashile was not listed on Chelsea’s roster for the Champions League.
Chelsea predicted lineup vs Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Kepa; James, Chalobah, Silva, Chilwell; Loftus-Cheek, Enzo; Madueke, Felix, Mudryk; Havertz.
Dortmund predicted lineup vs Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Kobel; Ryerson, Sule, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro; Can; Reyna, Bellingham, Reus, Brandt; Haller.