Chelsea will aim for a spot in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals when they welcome Borussia Dortmund to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
The UEFA Champions League resumes this week, and we will have four of the quarter-finalists by Wednesday. Tuesday will serve up two matches, with the marquee fixture featuring Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea reached the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 after finishing atop Group E. That came after they suffered a shock defeat to Dinamo Zagreb on the opening matchday. On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund finished runners-up in Group G, five points adrift of Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Chelsea recently returned to winning ways this past weekend, ending a run of six games without a victory. But the 1-0 win over Leeds United did not inspire much confidence. And Graham Potter still has a long way to go before he can win over Chelsea fans amid ever-increasing pressure.
On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund might be the most in-form team in the world right now. The Black and Yellows have won all ten games since the season resumed after the World Cup break. And they have risen to the top of the Bundesliga, level on points with Bayern Munich.
Dortmund’s phenomenal run also includes a 1-0 win over Chelsea in the first leg, where Karim Adeyemi scored the game’s only goal. The Hard Tackle runs the rule over the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Watch Graham Potter and Joao Felix preview our game with Dortmund! https://t.co/c4XEbDYxBV
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 6, 2023
Graham Potter has greeted a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, the Chelsea manager will be bereft of the services of six eligible first-team players.
Mason Mount is the latest absentee, with the English international serving a suspension in this game. The English international has joined Edouard Mendy (finger), Thiago Silva (knee), Cesar Azpilicueta (head), N’Golo Kante (hamstring), and Christian Pulisic (knee) on the sidelines.
In addition, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, David Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and David Datro Fofana are not in Chelsea’s Champions League squad. But there is some good news, as Reece James should be fit and available after resuming training this week.
There is no looking past Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks, with Chelsea lining up in a 3-4-3 formation in front of him. And Graham Potter should have no reason to tinker with the system after a decent showing at the weekend. So Trevoh Chalobah, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Wesley Fofana pick themselves in the central defensive unit.
James will return to the starting eleven straightaway, with Ben Chilwell starting on the left flank. Meanwhile, the central midfield partnership should also continue, with Mateo Kovacic and Enzo Fernandez pairing up in the middle of the park. That will ensure continuity and stability in the team.
The same goes for the offensive unit, with Kai Havertz set to lead the line again. Raheem Sterling and Joao Felix should play just behind the German international. So Mykhaylo Mudryk and Hakim Ziyech will miss out once more.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Kepa; Chalobah, Koulibaly, Fofana; James, Kovacic, Fernandez, Chilwell; Sterling, Havertz, Felix
Like his counterpart in the Chelsea dugout, Edin Terzic has a new roster issue hampering his preparations ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge. The Borussia Dortmund manager will be without eight first-team players on Tuesday.
Julian Ryerson is the latest absentee, with the 25-year-old serving a suspension, like Mount. In addition, Gregor Kobel (hip), Mateu Morey (meniscus), Abdoulaye Kamara (knee), Julien Duranville (thigh), Donyell Malen (ankle), Karim Adeyemi (hamstring), and Youssoufa Moukoko (ankle) are on the sidelines. So Terzic will have very few options to choose from this week.
Alexander Meyer picks himself in the absence of Kobel. And Dortmund will likely line up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of the German goalkeeper. With such a system, the visitors will look to dominate the midfield battle and put Chelsea to the sword.
🙌 Auf geht’s, Dortmund! 🙌
👔 by Mey & Edlich pic.twitter.com/fsUZjf0yF4
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) March 6, 2023
Marius Wolf is an automatic pick as the right-back in the absence of Ryerson. Meanwhile, Raphael Guerreiro will start on the left flank. Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck will pair up as the central defensive partnership.
Emre Can has been solid in his displays in the last few weeks and will sit at the base of the midfield unit. Salih Ozcan and Jude Bellingham will accompany the German international in the middle of the park. And Bellingham will have the spotlight on him with his effervescent displays.
Marco Reus is fit and firing. And the Borussia Dortmund captain will potentially be a difference-maker in the final third. Reus and Julian Brandt should be the two wide attackers, with the duo likely roving infield often. Finally, Sebastien Haller will spearhead the Dortmund attack against Chelsea.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meyer; Wolf, Sule, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro; Ozcan, Can, Bellingham; Brandt, Haller, Reus
- Chelsea will host Borussia Dortmund in a match for the very first time on Tuesday. But after winning six of their first seven UEFA Champions League home games against German sides (D1), the Blues are now winless in their last two (D1 L1).
- Borussia Dortmund have lost their last five UEFA Champions League away games against English sides since a 2-1 win at Arsenal in October 2013.
- Borussia Dortmund have progressed from five of their six previous UEFA Champions League knockout stage ties when winning the first leg, the exception being against PSG in the 2019/20 Round of 16.
- Chelsea have won seven of their last nine UEFA Champions League home games, with the exceptions being a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in last season’s quarter-final and a 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg in this season’s group stage.
- Jude Bellingham is Borussia Dortmund’s highest scorer in the UEFA Champions League this season with four goals, including one away against Manchester City in the group stages. He could become the first Englishman in the competition’s history to score away from home against two different English sides.
Player to Watch
In a team sorely lacking goals, Graham Potter is desperately looking for inspiration. And the Chelsea boss will be eager to see Kai Havertz stepping up on Tuesday to guide Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Havertz has had more shots (16) and more touches in the opposition box (36) than any other Chelsea player in the Champions League this season. He was also involved in eight of the Blues’ 21 attempts against Dortmund in the first leg, having four shots and creating four chances. So the 23-year-old will be Chelsea’s best bet to clinch a win on Tuesday.
Chelsea 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Chelsea will come into the game buoyed after a much-needed win over Leeds United at the weekend. And Graham Potter will again set his team up to defend with numbers before embarking on counters. But Borussia Dortmund will be a hard nut to crack for the struggling Blues.
The visitors are the most in-form team in the world and can do no wrong right now. And ahead of the upcoming Der Klassiker, Edin Terzic will be eager to see his team continue the recent momentum.
So while Chelsea will likely find a way past the Borussia Dortmund defence, their frailties will once again be in the spotlight. That will inspire Dortmund to clinch another win by the odd goal. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 victory for Terzic and his charges, sending Chelsea out of the UEFA Champions League.