Borussia Dortmund vs APOEL – Wednesday, November 1, 19:45 GMT/20:45CET – SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, Dortmund.
After a lacklustre 4-2 defeat to Hannover 96 on matchday 10 of the Bundesliga Peter Bosz has to navigate his first crisis as the head coach of Borussia Dortmund. Winless in three league matches as well as in three UEFA Champions League games Dortmund are in danger of losing sight of their league objectives within just two months of the season.
The only positive in recent weeks has been a 5-0 victory over Liga 3 side Magdeburg in the DFB Pokal. Although that performance was impressive, one has to remember that the win came against a third division team and anything less than a major victory would have been a surprise. There was hope that the result could be the beginning of the end of Dortmund’s wobble, but instead, the Yellow and Blacks followed the game up with a hara-kiri performance against Hannover.
The game against Hannover, in fact, showed the problems with Peter Bosz high defensive line. The newly-promoted side had an easy time slicing apart Dortmund scoring almost at will despite only having 30% ball possession. Bosz warned of the season that his system could create lopsided results in favour of the opposition as his team is getting used to pressing far up the field. But while defeats against Tottenham, Real and Leipzig were somewhat excusable the recent loss against Hannover is nothing short of an embarrassment.
Dortmund these days seems like an on-going project and the only way to create progress is through positive results. Hence, a victory against APOEL in the UEFA Champions League would go a long way to give back some confidence to a side that seems to be lacking believe in its strengths. The problem, of course, is that APOEL are no pushovers. The Cypriote team took the game to Dortmund on matchday 3 and thanks to mistakes by BVB keeper Roman Bürki came close to winning the game two weeks ago.
With all of Dortmund’s problems in mind, victory is not assured at all for the German side. Given the latest results, Dortmund will be cautious going into the match, and it is therefore likely that the game will end with a laborious victory for the Yellow and Blacks.
Borussia Dortmund vs APOEL – Player to look out for:
Julian Weigl #33 – Borussia Dortmund
With Borussia Dortmund struggling Julian Weigl could once again become the anchor of Borussia Dortmund’s midfield. The 22-year-old missed the beginning of the season with a broken ankle and only returned to match duty on matchday 4 of the Bundesliga. He has steadily increased his minutes since returning, and with Borussia Dortmund struggling to find the stability of late in Peter Bosz highline attacking tactical system Weigl could be the stabilising force needed for Dortmund to come up with positive results finally.
Raúl Gudiño #1 – APOEL Nicosia
On loan from FC Porto, Raúl Gudiño became the first Mexican born goalkeeper to play in the UEFA Champions League on matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League. It was Gudiño’s first start for APOEL this season, and the keeper helped to bring a draw across the line supporting the Cypriote side to secure a significant sensation against the German giants.
Borussia Dortmund vs APOEL – Match Stats
- This is Dortmund’s first home match against opponents from Cyprus.
- Neither team will be able to finish in the top two if they lose this game.
- Dortmund, contesting the group stage for the 12th time and a sixth in seven years, have reached the knockout stage in their last four UEFA Champions League appearances.
- BVB have won only one of their last eight European games (D2 L5) and had lost four in a row before matchday three.
- This is APOEL’s ninth away match against German opponents. They have lost seven of those previous fixtures, including the last two.
- The Cypriot side’s sole win against a German club, home or away, came against Berliner FC Dynamo in the 1980/81 European Champion Clubs’ Cup first round, when they won the second leg 2-1 in Nicosia. APOEL nevertheless bowed out, having gone down 3-0 in the first game in Berlin.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund vs APOEL – 1-0
Borussia Dortmund vs APOEL – Possible Lineups
Bürki – Zagadou, Sokratis, Bartra, Toljan – Castro, Weigl, Götze – Pulisic, Isak, Philipp
Coach: Peter Bosz
Gudiño – Lago, Rueda, Merkis, Milanov – Morais, Vinicius – Aloneftis, Souza, Zahid – Poté
Coach: Georgios Donis
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. 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 will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.