Chelsea will take on Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds on Wednesday, looking to pick up a vital result away from home.

It has been a disappointing Premier League campaign for Chelsea so far, and they will look to make their mark in Europe when they take on Borussia Dortmund this midweek. The Blues will be desperate to make it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. And a positive away from home result could be crucial to their chances of getting through to the next round.

Chelsea are currently tenth in the Premier League table, and they have failed to win five of their last six matches across all competitions. This will be a difficult away game for them and it remains to be seen whether the Blues can step up and deliver.

Borussia Dortmund are in outstanding form heading into this contest, and they will fancy their chances against an inconsistent Chelsea side. The Germans are on a five-match winning run across all competitions and they will look to grind out a positive result at home in the first leg of the tie.

The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the UEFA Champions League encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

The home side will be without the services of Abdoulaye Kamara (knee) and Youssoufa Moukoko (ankle) because of injuries here. Moukoko picked up a knock against Werder Bremen at the weekend, and his absence will come as a blow for the home side.

Edin Terzic is likely to field his side in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Gregor Kobel in goal. Julian Ryerson and Raphael Guerreiro will start as the full-backs. The two players will be expected to add pace and creativity from the wide areas. Niklas Sule will partner Nico Schlotterbeck at the heart of the Dortmund defence.

Emre Can will start as the defensive midfielder here, and he will look to break up the play and recycle possession. Meanwhile, Giovanni Reyna and Julian Brandt should be deployed as the wingers.

The duo will aim to add creativity from the flanks and drop down to add more numbers to the midfield while defending. Marco Reus and Jude Bellingham are likely to start in the advanced central positions in the middle of the park.

While Reus will look to support the attacker with his runs into the box, Bellingham, who recently rejected Chelsea, is likely to control the tempo of the game and add drive to the midfield. Sebastien Haller will lead the line for the hosts.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Kobel; Ryerson, Sule, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro; Can; Reyna, Bellingham, Reus, Brandt; Haller

Chelsea

The Blues will be without the services of Raheem Sterling, N’Golo Kante, Denis Zakaria, Wesley Fofana, Mateo Kovacic, Armando Broja, Christian Pulsic and Edouard Mendy because of injuries. Benoit Badiashile was left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. And the two players are set to miss out as well.

Graham Potter is likely to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation here, with Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal. Reece James and Marc Cucurella are likely to start as the full-backs, and they will be hoping to help out the attackers during transitions. Trevoh Chalobah is set to partner the highly-experienced Thiago Silva at the heart of the Chelsea defence.

January signing Enzo Fernandez has been quite impressive in his recent outings. And he is set to start in a midfield pivot alongside Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The two players will look to add defensive cover and creativity from the middle of the park.

Hakim Ziyech and Mykhaylo Mudryk are likely to be deployed as the wingers here, and they will hope to add creativity and flair in the final third. Kai Havertz is set to lead the line for the Blues, with Joao Felix operating in the hole. The Portuguese international will look to drop deep and link up with the midfielders and make clever runs into the box to help open up the Dortmund defence.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kepa; James, Chalobah, Silva, Cucurella; Loftus-Cheek, Fernandez; Ziyech, Felix, Mudryk; Havertz

Key Stats

  • This will be the first meeting between Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea in European competition.
  • Chelsea have only won three of their 11 previous away matches against German opposition (D3 L5).
  • Graham Potter is unbeaten in charge of Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League (W4 D1), winning each of his past four games.
  • Mykhaylo Mudryk has been directly involved in five goals in six appearances in the Champions League this season (three goals and two assists).
  • Chelsea have won ten of their 14 away Champions League matches.┬áChelsea’s Champions League record in the Round of 16 is ten wins and six defeats.

Player to Watch

Jude Bellingham

Chelsea eye Borussia Dortmund whizkid Jude Bellingham as an alternative to Declan Rice and could move for him in the coming windows
Jude Bellingham will be Dortmund’s main man (Photo by BVB.de)

The England international has been in splendid form this season. And Bellingham has a handy tally of four goals and an assist in five UEFA Champions League outings thus far in the ongoing campaign.

The 19-year-old has been the best player for Dortmund this season, and he is our man to watch during the midweek. The England international will hope to dominate the midfield against Chelsea while looking to add to his tally of goals in Europe.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Chelsea

This is likely to be a close contest between the two teams. But Borussia Dortmund are in better form right now, and they have the momentum with them. The German side are at home and will feel confident about grinding out a win here.

Chelsea have been quite inconsistent but are certainly capable of producing a match-winning performance here. The Blues have struggled to find the back of the net consistently this season and their faltering attack is likely to let them down once again. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the German side.

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