Who? – Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona
Where? – Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
When? – 20:00 GMT, Tuesday 17th September, 2019
Borussia Dortmund take on Barcelona in Group F of the first game of the UEFA Champions League group stages this season at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park.
BVB will be looking to make a strong start and continue to keep up a record of getting out of the qualifying stages for the last seven seasons in what is arguably the one of the ‘groups of death’ in the competition this season as Inter Milan and Slavia Prague as the two other teams involved.
Favourites to top the group, the Catalans have not failed to qualify from the group stages since the 2000-01 season but are going to have to be at their best against tough opposition including this opening fixture at the very intimidating home of Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund – Axel Witsel is expected to be fit enough to start having last the majority of Dortmund’s last game against Bayer Leverkusen whilst Manuel Akanji is expected to be available despite picking up an injury on international duty with Switzerland.
Barcelona – Messi may be named in the starting line up or on the bench as he gets closer to being fully fit having not started a single game this season whilst history could be made as 16-year-old Ansu Fati could feature for the Spanish outfit having starred in La Liga this season.
It has been a solid start to the season for Dortmund in the Bundesliga, who have picked up nine points from 12, and despite a disappointing 3-1 defeat to newly promoted Union Berlin, the yellow & black outfit have been firing in the goals, scoring 12 goals in those three wins.
Barcelona early form has shown that key players missing such as Luis Suarez and Leo Messi has had some impact on their results with dropped points against Osasuna and a late defeat to Athletic Bilbao coming before two cruising 5-2 victories against Real Betis and Valencia.
Borussia Dortmund – Paco Alcacer
The former Barcelona forward, who was contracted at the club from 2016 until this summer, is able to play against his former side for the first time having spent last season on loan and have an excellent start to life in the Bundesliga before dropping off however that early form that has resurged at start of the season having scored nine goals in nine games.
Barcelona – Antoine Griezmann
With the return of Luis Suarez to the team, the pressure will be on new signing Antoine Griezmann to show why he was signed by the Catalans for over €120m in the summer by performing on nights like these and gain his teammate’s respect as a game winning player.
These teams clashing together is a huge rarity, as both Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona have only gone against each other competitively in the UEFA Super Cup all the way back in 1998 where Barca won on aggregate 3-1 after a 2-0 home win and a 1-1 draw in Germany.
Both sides have been high-scoring in their respective leagues and, with both sides struggling to keep clean sheets this season as well, goals could be expected from both sides in what will be a remarkably atmospheric stadium.
*odds as of September 17th at 14:18 and subject to change
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