Benfica and Borussia Dortmund do battle at the Westfalenstadion on Wednesday night, in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie. Ahead of the match, we got the inside story on Dortmund's preparations from Stefan Buczko, editor-in-chief and host of The Yellow Wall Podcast.
Which Benfica player(s) impressed you most in the first leg?
Ederson. He stood in the way of a Dortmund win that night, as his amazing saves prevented the guests from scoring a vital away goal.
Dortmund have won all three games since the defeat to Benfica, scoring 12 goals. Are they are back on top form?
Yes. Currently they are enjoying their best stretch of form of the season, but it seemed as though they saved some energy for Wednesday night in their 6-2 win over Leverkusen at the weekend. They weren't at their sharpest despite the convincing scoreline. "We have to play 300% better", said centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos [pictured below] after the game. Their Champions League form thus far suggests that they will.
Were any players rested against Leverkusen on Saturday?
Ousmane Dembélé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were taken off early, but there was no rotation necessary, as Dortmund did not play a midweek game last week. There was a cup match scheduled for last Tuesday against third tier side Sportfreunde Lotte, but the match was postponed due to bad weather conditions. For BVB that should be a blessing.
Marco Reus was injured against Leverkusen. What is the prognosis?
He is out for four weeks. A big blow for Dortmund, as he is one of their best players and was in superb form. Thomas Tuchel, however, isn't shy of replacements. He named Shinji Kagawa, André Schürrle and Christian Pulisic [pictured below] as alternatives, depending on the implemented system.
Does the team have any other injuries or suspensions ahead of the second leg?
As mentioned, Reus will be unavailable. Mario Götze, Sven Bender and Sebastian Rode are also ruled out due to long-term injuries. Raphaël Guerreiro is doubtful for the match due to a tightened thigh muscle he sustained against Leverkusen. Guerreiro played in central midfield for Dortmund in the first leg, but was moved to the left wing-back position in recent matches.
Will Dortmund's tactical approach differ at all from the first leg?
There could be even more focus on wing-play, as I expect Benfica to congest the middle. However, there should only be minor tactical changes from the first leg. It will be interesting to see how Benfica react after committing a few tactical errors in the first leg. Leaving Julian Weigl completely open was one of them. And then it will be interesting to see if Tuchel has another surprise up his sleeve for Rui Vitória.
How are Dortmund likely to lineup on Wednesday night?