Manuel Veth –
Barcelona vs Borussia Dortmund – Wednesday, November 27, 20:00GMT/21:00CET – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
League leaders in La Liga, leaders in the Champions League Group C. But in reality, the margins of error are very small for Barcelona. In La Liga, Barcelona are even on points with rivals Real Madrid and in the Champions League, a defeat to Borussia Dortmund could jeopardize qualification for the round of 16 of the Champions League.
On the weekend Barcelona struggled against Leganes. The 2-1 victory over last-placed Leganes was at best fortunate. “We have to play better,” former Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal said after the game.
Rumour has it that the mood in Barcelona is poor. The side is struggling with the system put in place by head coach Ernesto Valverde. “The only thing that counts is winning,” Valverde said on the weekend.
A mantra that will also count for Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre. Dortmund were smashed by rivals Bayern Munich in der Klassiker two weeks ago. Then with the international break over 45 terrible minutes against Paderborn meant that Dortmund have thrown away another two points.
Dortmund’s record is 5-5-2 in the Bundesliga. It is only thanks to the fact that other teams have also struggled in the Bundesliga that the Black and Yellows are still in the title race. As a result, Favre is now under immense pressure and needs positive results against Barcelona and Hertha to secure his job.
“Everybody thought Paderborn would be the ideal opponent after the Bayern game,” sporting director Michael Zorc said this week. Instead, Dortmund were disappointing as they have been so often against weaker sides. Against top sides in the Champions League, the Black and Yellows have at times surprised.
Without striker Paco Alcacér, expect Mario Götze to play the number 9 role. It is a situation that underlines that Dortmund may have made a mistake to not sign a striker this summer. CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke admitted this much at the annual general meeting on Sunday.
The side received some boos and whistles at that meeting. On Monday the club will hold its shareholder meeting and then face Barca. It will be a decisive week for Dortmund and Lucien Favre.
Barcelona vs Borussia Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Lionel Messi #10 – Barcelona
With Barcelona still struggling at times to take on Valverde’s system much will once again depend on superstar Lionel Messi. The Argentine forward remains the world’s best player. But in the first leg defender Mats Hummels, had the better of the two, for Dortmund to get anything out of the game they will have to shut out Messi.
Jadon Sancho #7 – Borussia Dortmund
Jadon Sancho appears to have his head turned. Reports from England and Germany’s Bild suggest that Sancho has his head turned by another club(s). Furthermore, the 19-year-old Englishman seems to have responded poorly by the criticism he earned after the Bayern game. Sancho, however, remains important for Dortmund and with a potential move to Barcelona in the cards the game on Wednesday will be an important one for Sancho.
Barcelona vs Borussia Dortmund – Match Stats
- Barcelona are unbeaten in 34 UEFA Champions League home matches, a run that started in September 2013 (W30 D4)
- Barcelona have won their last three matches against German clubs at the Camp Nou, scoring nine goals and conceding only one, and 13 of the last 14.
- The exception was a 0-3 loss to Bayern München in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg (0-7 aggregate).
- Dortmund have won only three of their last nine UEFA Champions League matches (D2 L4), including two this season; a 2-0 success at Slavia on Matchday 2 and a 3-2 home defeat of Inter last time out.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Barcelona vs Borussia Dortmund – 2-0
Barcelona vs Borussia Dortmund – Lineups
ter Stegen – Firpo, Lenglet, Umtiti, Sergi Roberto – de Jong, Busquets, Vidal – Griezmann, Suarez, Messi
Head Coach: Ernesto Valverde
Bürki – Guerreiro, Zagadou, Hummels, Piszczek – Witsel – Hazard, Brandt, Reus, Sancho – Götze
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.