- Borussia Dortmund head into Wednesday’s Champions League round of 16 clash against Chelsea in fantastic form, winning all six of their matches since the restart.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Chelsea career appears to be over before it even began and the former Arsenal striker will not be available for the Blues after being left out of their Champions League squad.
- Chelsea are in need of a win and have just one victory to their name to start 2023.
Issues up top are obvious for Chelsea and Aubameyang will not feature here. Fellow forward Armando Broja is expected to be out for the season after suffering knee ligament damage in a mid-season friendly back in December.
Question marks remain in defence as well for Graham Potter with new signing Benoit Badiashile not being able to be registered, meaning Kalidou Koulibaly is likely to return to the lineup. The former Napoli man was absent at the weekend in the away draw with West Ham due to illness but he is expected to be ready for the trip to Dortmund.
After last playing for Chelsea against Milan back in October, it has been a long wait for Wesley Fofana. However, positive news follows as the Frenchman could be in line for a return this week after rejoining the team in training.
Raheem Sterling is a doubt for Wednesday, however, due to picking up a knock that kept him out of the West Ham game. Mateo Kovacic is also a doubt since he has missed the last three matches with a calf problem but he could return against Dortmund. Fellow central-midfielder Denis Zakaria is also nearing a return as his recovery from a thigh injury continues.
The likes of N’Golo Kante, Edouard Mendy and Christian Pulisic will remain out for the trip to Westfalenstadion.
For BVB, wonderkid Youssoufa Moukoko has been ruled out of the clash and could miss over a month of action after suffering ankle ligament damage. That means Sebastien Haller will likely lead the line after returning to the squad at the start of the year following a battle with testicular cancer, whilst Anthony Modeste also offers another option for head coach Edin Terzic.
Marius Wolf is also not expected to feature after missing the Werder Bremen fixture over the weekend with a shoulder injury, whilst Mateu Morey is also out.
Champions League Form
The hosts qualified for the knockouts after finishing in second place in Group G behind Premier League champions Manchester City. BVB lost just one game in the group stage - a 2-1 defeat away to City - but did only win twice on their way to registering nine points.
However, Dortmund were a different side when the group stage fixtures were played, with mixed domestic form, but their splendid run in 2023 sees them head into this Champions League tie with fantastic momentum.
Chelsea topped Group E ahead of Italian champions Milan, RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb. It looked like an easy group on paper for the Blues and that’s how it turned out as they suffered just one defeat, winning the group by a three-point margin.
Thomas Tuchel was the man who oversaw Chelsea’s matchday one defeat away to Zagreb but Potter came in to oversee a change in fortunes, going undefeated in the rest of their group matches. They also comfortably dismissed Milan as challengers to the group, defeating them 3-0 at home and 2-0 away at the San Siro.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Dortmund 10, Chelsea 10
Goals Against: Dortmund 5, Chelsea 4
Both Teams to Score %: Dortmund 66.67%, Chelsea 50%
Over 2.5 goals %: Dortmund 50%, Chelsea 50%
Dortmund and Chelsea will go head-to-head for the first time in their history on Wednesday evening as two European giants finally clash. Both clubs have actually lifted the trophy before, with Chelsea being the most recent winners back in 2021. The Blues were crowned champions of the tournament for the first time in 2012, whilst Dortmund won it for the only time in 1997.
Dortmund have been in formidable form since the World Cup and winter break and have won every match in all competitions. This has seen them rise to third in the Bundesliga table as they sit just three points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Terzic has certainly got his BVB side playing well and they’re scoring a lot too, averaging 2.83 goals since the restart, scoring 17 goals in just six matches.
A 2-0 win away to Bremen at the weekend extended their winning run to six games. Jamie Bynoe-Gittens scored the opener and the 18-year-old Englishman could be the next talent to be nurtured by Dortmund.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have been struggling under Potter and have just one win since the turn of the year. The Blues have drawn their last three consecutive matches, scoring just one goal in the process and they are crying out for a goalscorer to lead the line.
January loan signing Joao Felix returned from his suspension at the weekend against West Ham and he managed to score his first goal as a Blue and will look to continue scoring here.
Owner Todd Boehly certainly splashed the cash in the January market, with the figure totalling a mammoth £290 million to try and spark a change in fortunes at Stamford Bridge, but expectations should be tempered for this season, with the new players needing time to settle in.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Dortmund 2-0 Chelsea @ 11/1 High-flying Dortmund are the favourites heading into the first leg and for good reason. They can’t stop scoring in the Bundesliga and they are in fantastic form. With Potter’s men scoring just three goals in their last five matches, we could see the hosts keep a clean sheet here as well. Expect a tough outing for the Blues.
Jude Bellingham Anytime Goalscorer @ 9/2 Jude Bellingham continues to shine in the middle of midfield for BVB and despite just scoring one goal in five games since returning from the winter break, the 19-year-old has been in brilliant goalscoring form in the Champions League so far this term, bagging four goals in five appearances.
Kalidou Koulibaly to be Carded @ 13/5 Koulibaly is expected to return to the lineup but will be a little rusty since he has not appeared in any of Chelsea’s last three games. The Senegalese defender has five yellow cards in just 14 Premier League appearances so far this season and also received a booking in half of his Champions League matches at the group stage.
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Milan will make their first appearance in the Ch...