Saturday, December 15, 2018

Prediction: Borussia Dortmund vs Atalanta

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: bet365

Having crashed out of the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund will be vying high-flying Atalanta for a chance to remain in the hunt for a European trophy. Orobici have largely impressed in their maiden Europa League campaign and they could prove a tough nut to crack for the Millionaires.

Borussia Dortmund

Even though Borussia Dortmund have been regular in Champions League closing stages in recent years, they have failed to impress this term, finishing third in their group behind Tottenham and Real Madrid. As a result, the Millionaires will continue their European campaign in the Europa League, where they will battle Atalanta for a place in the Last 16 stage. Borussia Dortmund appear to have shown some improvement under new boss Peter Stoger, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang does not appear to be sorely missed for the time being, as his replacement Michy Batshuayi has enjoyed an excellent start to his career at Signal-Iduna Park.

The Belgian bagged three goals in his first two appearances for the new club and he will now be looking to extend the excellent run against Atalanta. Dortmund have defeated FC Koln (3-2) and Hamburger (2-0) since the Belgian replaced Aubameyang, with Christian Pulisic and Andre Schurrle also in fine form. However, it was the return of star forward Marco Reus that grabbed the headline as he was handed his first start after nine months. The Germany hotshot is unlikely to start the second game in five days, but he should play a part.

Team News

Marcu Reus has returned into action after a lengthy injury lay-off, but Shinji Kagawa is almost certain to miss out through an ankle problem.

Marcel Schmelzer, on the other hand, is nearing a return from a muscle injury and he could be in contention to face Atalanta.

Atalanta

Atalanta have seriously improved the club’s profile in recent years and last term’s fourth-place finish in Serie A was clearly an incredible achievement. Oribici made sure to make their Europa League qualification count as they managed to win a very difficult group ahead of Lyon, Everton and Apollon, recording four wins and two draws in the group phase. Their league campaign did suffer a little bit, but Atalanta have since returned to the right track on domestic stage as well and they now sit mere four points behind European positions.

And while strikers Andrea Petagna and Andreas Cornelius have only scored a handful of goals between them, the likes of Bryan Cristante, Josip Ilicic and playmaker Papu Gomez all contributed to ensure the results remain respectable in both Italy and Europe. Orobici have done fairly well in recent weeks, taking seven points from last three league fixtures, while losing to Juventus in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg, and they definitely have reason for optimism ahead of the trip to Germany.

Team News

The likes of Mattia Caldara, Papu Gomez and Remo Freuler will all be recalled to the side, while only Luca Rizzo misses out through injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Atalanta unbeaten in this year’s Europa League (W4 D2)
  • Dortmund won 4 of last 6 home games in Europa League (D1 L1)
  • Both teams scored in Atalanta’s three group stage matches on the road
  • Orobici recorded one win (5-1) and two draws (1-1, 1-1) in those fixtures
  • Eight different players scored for Atalanta in the group phase

Conclusion

Borussia Dortmund have raised their game of late with January recruit in fine form, while Atalanta have largely impressed in this year’s Europa League and have been putting in some fine performances on the late. This is why we expect the trend of high-scoring games on Oribici’s European travels to continue.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: bet365

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