Manuel Veth –
Dortmund vs Brugge – Wednesday, November 28, 20:00GMT/21:00CET – BVB Stadion, Dortmund, Germany
Borussia Dortmund’s remarkable season continues. On Saturday the Black and Yellows beat Mainz 2-1 thanks to a late Lukasz Piszczek goal. That result sent Dortmund nine points clear of closest rivals Bayern München, who are in fifth place after dropping two points to Fortuna Düsseldorf, and four points clear of second-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Still unbeaten in the Bundesliga the German championship now appears Dortmund’s to lose. In the Champions League Dortmund are also on course despite a 2-0 defeat to Atlético Madrid on matchday 4.
That particular defeat came on the backs of a 4-0 victory against Atleti on matchday 3, and while both the Spaniards and Dortmund are first with 9 points, each Dortmund hold the tie-breaker thanks to that 4-0 home victory and are guaranteed first place if they beat Brugge and Monaco on matchday 5 and 6.
Dortmund want to win the group but also know that a draw on Wednesday against a difficult Brugge side would see them through to the next round. At the same time, Dortmund’s players know that the game will not be an easy task. “Brugge are a complicated opponent,” Marco Reus told kicker on Monday.
Speaking of complications. It has been a complicated season for Club Brugge. On the field head coach Ivan Leko is missing several key players ahead of the Dortmund game. Jelle Vossen, Emmanuel Dennis and Arnaut Danjuma are out. Danjuma, who has scored four goals and three assists and debuted in the Dutch national team has been out with an injury since mid-October. “He will be out for a few weeks,” Leko told the media ahead of the game. In his absence, Brugge have collected just six points in seven games.
Off the field, Brugge have been intertwined in the corruption and money laundering scandal that has hit Belgian football. Leko spent one night in prison in October as Brugge were investigated for their involvement in the scandal. He was quickly let go, however, which suggest that he is not one of the main protagonists of the scandal.
While Leko is back at his job, the affair seems to have affected the club. On Friday Brugge lost 1-3 to last-placed Zulte-Waregem. “That was the worst performance of the season,” Leko said after the game. Now Brugge face high-flying Dortmund in a must-win game to stay alive in the Champions League. With everything going on in Belgium Dortmund are certainly favourites to wrap up their spot in the round of 16 with a good win on Wednesday.
Dortmund vs Brugge – Players to look out for:
Christian Pulisic #22 – Borussia Dortmund
Christian Pulisic has somewhat struggled at times this season. Outdone by Jacob Bruun Larsen and Jadon Sancho the US men’s national team player has lost his starting position in the lineup. Statistically, there are some suggestions that Pulisic’s development in Dortmund may have flatlined and with his contract up in 2020 next summer will be Dortmund’s last opportunity to sell the American. The DFB Pokal match against Union Berlin aside Pulisic’s last big performance came in the first leg against Brugge on matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League. In that game the American rescued Dortmund’s start to the international season, now three months later Pulisic needs a big performance to get his campaign going.
Wesley #7 – Club Brugge
Wesley is Brugge’s most dangerous forward. The 22-year-old Brazilian striker has scored ten goals in 20 appearances for Brugge this season. Signed from AS Trencin in 2016 for €1 million the physical forward has all the attributes to become a power forward in a big international league. It is, therefore, no surprise that the likes of Lazio, Monaco and Bayern München have been linked with the Brazilian.
Dortmund vs Brugge – Match Stats
- The two teams have only met on two previous occasions
- In the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, each side won the home leg 2-1, sending the tie into a penalty shoot-out in Dortmund. Brugge emerged 4-2 victors and went on to the group stage.
- Before this season, Dortmund had won only one of their last 11 UEFA Champions League fixtures (D3 L7); they had won three in a row, their best run since autumn 2016, before the loss at Atlético.
- This is only the second time Dortmund have been drawn with a Belgian club in a UEFA Champions League section; they took four points off Anderlecht in 2014/15 (3-0 away, 1-1 home).
- Brugge have won only one of their last ten fixtures against German clubs, home and away (D2 L7) – that 2003 defeat of Dortmund. They have never won in Germany, where their record is D3 L9, losing their last four games there.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Dortmund vs Brugge – 2-0
Dortmund vs Brugge – Lineups
Bürki – Hakimi, Zagadou, Akanji, Piszczek – Witsel, Delaney – Sancho, Reus, Pulisic – Paco Alcacer
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Horvath – Mechele, Mitrovic, Poulain – Vormer, Nakamba – Rits, Vanaken, Clinton – Wesley, Rezaei
Head Coach: Ivan Leko
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga 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. 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.