MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) previews Wednesday night’s Champions League tussle between Dortmund and Juventus. Can the Black & Yellows overcome their first leg deficit?
Borussia Dortmund v Juventus | Wednesday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
Can the real Borussia Dortmund please stand up? I repeat, can the real Borussia Dortmund please stand up? We’re going to have a problem here…
Yeah, Eminem’s 2000 smash hit ‘Real Slim Shady’ may have been a critique on manufactured pop songs but the basic premise surely stands alongside the fortunes of the German giants this season too?
Having lost at home to Augsburg on the 4th February, BVB were at rock bottom. But a four-game winning streak coincided with star man Marco Reus signing a new contract and suddenly those inside and out of Germany were running to back the Black & Yellows for a Top-4 Finish. But football rarely works out that way.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have reverted to type and back-to-back 0-0 draws against Koln and Hamburg have left the 2013 Champions League finalists a full 12 points adrift of fourth in their domestic table with just 11 games to play. There will be no fairytale finish to Dortmund’s Bundesliga campaign.
Heading to Turin for the first leg, I had faith in BVB’s ability to avoid defeat. But Klopp’s charges were second best against the Italian champions and a 2-1 defeat was the least the Germans deserved at the full-time whistle. However, Reus took advantage of Giorgio Chiellini’s slip to pinch what could prove to be a priceless away goal.
So what am I getting at? Well, Dortmund must go the distance if they want to be playing Champions League football next season. They must also beat Juventus at Signal Iduna Park to put the first piece of the puzzle down and as we’ve seen previously, we haven’t a Scooby-Doo what to expect from this 2014/15 crop.
Four home league defeats this campaign suggest the vociferous Signal Iduna Park is no longer the fortress it once was but a look at their continental record as hosts and those willing BVB on might start believing. Klopp’s charges have W11-D1-L2 in their last 14 Champions League games on home soil, scoring in 18 of their last 19 outings in the same competition.
The Black & Yellows will pour forward and should they come close to matching the intensity, the aggression and the accuracy they displayed when dismantling fierce rivals Schalke here just a matter of weeks ago, the 13/8 (Coral) on Dortmund to qualify is a go-er. An early goal might be required by BVB but I’ll happily take a small stab on the hosts securing qualification to the quarter-finals.
I’ve mentioned Dortmund’s decent record on home soil in Europe’s premier competition and it’s only fair to point out Juventus’ less than impressive return from away days on the biggest stage. Over the past two seasons, the Old Lady have won just once in six Champions League road trips and that came at Swedish champions Malmo; five of their previous seven ended in defeat.
Morale is most certainly high amongst Juve’s squad. Massimiliano Allegri’s side lead Serie A by 14 points and look set for a fourth straight Scudetto. It’s allowed the Bianconeri to focus on the Champions League and for balance’s sake, I should point out that Juve are now unbeaten on their travels since October in all competitions, a run of 11 games.
And it’s worth pointing out too, that should Allegri’s scouting team have watched Dortmund’s goalless draw against Koln on Saturday, they’d have been hugely encouraged by the way in which the Billy Goats ripped the BVB defence apart on the counter-attack. Had Koln the likes of Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata in their ranks, then surely they’d have finished one of their plethora of chances…
Morata and Arturo Vidal was rested for their weekend trip to Palermo while Paul Pogba was suspended, so three of that feared front four will be fresh and raring to go. However, mercurial playmaker Andrea Pirlo is unlikely to make it as the Old Lady look to improve on their stunning record of progressing in 12 of their 15 previous two-leggers with German opposition.
As I’ve already pinned my colours to Dortmund qualifying (admittedly at miniscule stakes) and talking up the visitors, it’s only sensible I have a play on the Both Teams To Score market at 5/6 with BetVictor. It took just 18 minutes for this bet to land in Turin with Juve now netted in all bar one of their last 18 encounters and shutting out only one of their past seven Champions League hosts.
Dortmund’s dominant home record in continental competition should be applauded but the Black & Yellows have still leaked in five of their last seven against foreign visitors. But I’d still expect BVB to notch; they’ve done so in all bar one Champions League fixture this season, netting 15 times in seven games.
Borussia Dortmund v Juventus – Both Teams To Score (5/6 BetVictor)
Borussia Dortmund v Juventus – Borussia Dortmund to qualify (13/8 Coral)
Is Mark right to have a speculative play on Dortmund qualifying? Have you found a better bet from this game?
We’d love to hear your thoughts so let us know in the comments box below.
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