Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Prediction: Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona

Verdict: Paco Alcacer to score anytime

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Bet365

In what looks like it could be an extremely lively encounter in rural Germany on Tuesday night, Borussia Dortmund will open their Champions League campaign when Barcelona come to town in midweek.

Borussia Dortmund

Starting with the hosts, although a hugely surprising 3-1 loss against Bundesliga debutants Union Berlin may have sent shockwaves across Europe prior to the international break, Borussia Dortmund did bounce back in some style on Saturday. Putting in their best display since opening the new campaign and putting four past Bayer Leverkusen at Signal-Iduna-Park, Head Coach Lucien Favre now sees his side sat just a single point behind bitter rivals and defending champions Bayern Munich. While fans in rural Germany may still have some concerns over their sides defensive issues, BVB do have one leading man who has continued to shine since making the move from the Nou Camp. Former Barcelona striker Paco Alcarer once again found the net against Leverkusen over the weekend and already has five Bundesliga strikes to his name, averaging a goal every 70 minutes. Desperate to fend off competition from Inter Milan and secure a route out of Group F, Farve should also be boosted by Dortmund’s continued success on home soil. Tuesday’s hosts have remarkably lost just a single Bundesliga matchup at Signal-Iduna-Park since May 2018. 

Team News

Thorgan Hazard and Julian Weigl are both pushing for spots in the starting XI, although the pair might have to make do with positions on the bench.

Barcelona

As for the visitors, while Barcelona may have managed to pick up a 5-2 win over Valencia on Saturday, the pressure firmly remains on the shoulder of Ernesto Valverde. Opening the new La Liga campaign with a shock 1-0 loss away at Atheltic Bilbao on the opening weekend, the Spanish giants have also dropped points against a returning Osasuna. A huge part of Barca’s recent issue has been down to their struggles away from the Nou Camp. Remarkably, the guests have failed to win any of their last four domestic matches on the road and their final European match outside of Catalonia ended with a 4-0 hammering at Anfield. While 16-year-old sensation Anssumane Fati may have done a stellar job of filling the void in Barcelona’s attack and has already bagged two goals in his opening three appearances, Tuesday’s traveling support will be overwhelmed to see five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi make his return. Not featuring since picking up an injury while away with Argentina in July, the 32-year-old bagged 36 La Liga goals last season, 15 more than any other player.

Team News

Lionel Messi is in contention to feature for the first time this season after returning to training on Sunday. The Argentine attacker has been sidelined after sustaining a calf injury on his return to pre-season training in August but has traveled with the Barca squad to Germany.

Key Factors to Consider

  • This is the first meeting between the two sides.
  • BVB have lost just a single Bundesliga matchup on home soil since May 2018.
  • Barcelona have conceded two or more goals in each of their last three appearances.
  • Dortmund striker Paco Alcacer has five Bundesliga goals in his opening four matches.
  • Barcelona have failed to win any of their last four La Liga matches away from the Nou Camp.

Conclusion

On paper, this has all the makings of a matchup that should produce a string of chances at both ends. While the Spanish giants might be able to call upon Lionel Messi, Dortmund should see this as a real opportunity to open their Group F with a much-needed victory. Drastically struggling with issues away from the Nou Camp and showing some glaring problems at the back, we’re backing a free-scoring Paco Alcacer to open his Champions League account in midweek.

Verdict: Paco Alcacer to score anytime

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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