Borussia Dortmund have a daunting task on their hands: eliminating Manchester City, who are arguably the best team in Europe at the moment, from the UEFA Champions League. Here are three reasons why Dortmund will overcome the 2-1 deficit from the away leg.
1. Erling Haaland
Haaland is playing a record-breaking Champions League campaign. The Norwegian is leading the scoring table ahead of Kylian Mbappe (8) with 10 goals, and although he was denied a goal by Ederson in the first leg, it is more than likely that the 20-year-old will be a menace on Wednesday night.
Think about it, Haaland is scoring 1.47 goal on average per 90 minutes. That is an insane number. Even though the goals have dried up recently, it is very hard to imagine that he will go without testing the sturdiness of the goal nets for two consecutive UCL games. Dortmund managed to create a decent amount of chances at the Etihad stadium last week. If they are a tad more clinical — and they have proven that they can be — Haaland and co. could easily score three or more against Pep Guardiola’s side.
2. Guardiola brain fart?
The most likely scenario is that Manchester City will take what they have learned from the first leg and make tactical adjustments that will help them be even more dominant in the second leg. But therein also lies the chance that Pep Guardiola once again overthinks a certain tactical aspect that sets the favourites up for doom.
Will he overload the corner flag? Will he order his goalkeeper to dribble into midfield? Stay tuned!
3. Football, bloody hell!
Though Dortmund are only in need of a 1-0 win at home, knowing that they’re getting such poor odds to win the second leg makes the task all the more daunting. Of course, finding reasons why exactly this BVB team, which has been outperformed by Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga Rückrunde, will miraculously push one of the most in-form team out of Europe’s most illustrious competition, is by definition clutching at straws.
But the randomness of this low-scoring game is what draws many of us to it. And Dortmund will have to ride their luck to get a necessary result. But they should be due some fortune after Jude Bellingham had a goal wrongly chalked off in the first leg. BVB have to rely on comically bad finishing by the soon-to-be Premier League champions and fortunate refereeing calls for a change. The first match has definitely shown that Man City players are far from infallible and the Dortmund need to get into their heads. Especially players like Mahmoud Dahoud could become the game changers Edin Terzic needs.
That all being said, this would be an entirely different ballgame with a sold-out Westfalenstadion. The magic of the Champions League is provided by the unique atmosphere coming from the stands. That element is sorely missing.