Friday, March 31, 2023

Prediction: Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 6 Mar 2023


Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 11/4

Bookmaker: Betfair

Chelsea are set to host Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their encounter in the Champions League round of 16 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. The Bundesliga side travel to the British capital with a one-goal advantage, courtesy of a brilliant run by Karim Adeyemi.


Much has been said about the way Chelsea and Liverpool have been playing this season, but while the Merseysiders appear to have awoken from slumber and are climbing the Premier League ladder slowly, the Blues are stuck in the middle of the table, sitting 10th at the moment with 34 points from 25 matches, the same tally as Aston Villa in 11th.

There’s a seven-point gap between them and sixth-place Newcastle, who have a game in hand on top that advantage. A top-four finish and another Champions League qualification seems like a pipe-dream for Chelsea at the moment, and the possibility of them missing out on European football altogether next season grows with each passing week.

Consequently, there has been much speculation about manager Graham Potter potentially losing his job in the near future, but for the time being, more reliable journalists are claiming to have been informed of the club’s unwavering trust in the former Brighton and Hove Albion boss.

Chelsea’s position is obviously the greatest consequence of their inability to string a few good results together despite spending incredible amounts of money since the summer, as their recent form clearly shows. They’ve only managed to win one of their last six matches in all competitions, the last one, where they beat Leeds United 1-0 at home. Before that, they drew 0-0 at home against Fulham, drew 1-1 away to West Ham, lost the first leg away to Dortmund by 1-0, suffered a humiliating 0-1 defeat at home against last-place Southampton, and lost 2-0 away to Tottenham Hotspur.

It remains to be seen how much that win over Leeds can inspire Potter’s team to try and build on it on Tuesday, particularly with the fact that it was achieved through a header by defender Wesley Fofana in mind, rather than a goal from one of their numerous expensive attackers.

Team News

Six Chelsea players have been ruled out for this clash: goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (wrist), defenders Thiago Silva (knee) and Cesar Azpilicueta (head), as well as midfielders N’Golo Kante (thigh) and Mason Mount (abdomen). However, right-back Reece James and winger Christian Pulisic have reportedly recovered from their respective thigh and knee injuries and should be available.

With Mendy out, Kepa Arrizabalaga is the obvious choice between the posts, with Trevoh Chalobah set to join Kalidou Koulibaly and Benoit Badiashile at the back. Enzo Fernandez, the Premier League’s most expensive player, will probably pair up with Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park, flanked by Hakim Ziyech (if James isn’t ready for 90 minutes) and Ben Chilwell. Kai Havertz is expected to lead the attacking line, with Joao Felix and Mykhaylo Mudryk in support.

Borussia Dortmund

Unlike Chelsea, Dortmund are flying high at the moment. They’re on very good form, having won every single competitive match they’ve played since the World Cup, a total of 11 on the trot. Their last-six run consists of a 1-2 win away to VfL Bochum in the round of 16 of the DFB-Pokal, a 0-2 win away to Werder Bremen, the 1-0 win over Chelsea in the first leg, a 4-1 win at home over Hertha Berlin, a 0-1 win away to Hoffenheim, and a 2-1 home win over RB Leipzig.

This run is obviously good enough to have Bayern Munich worried when it comes to the title race in the Bundesliga. At the moment, the Bavarians are still ahead, but only on goal-difference with both teams on 49 points after 23 rounds, while Union Berlin in third have 44. Leipzig in fourth and SC Freiburg in fifth are both on 42.

Off the pitch, Dortmund are currently busy trying to tie down Jude Bellingham to a new deal. The 19-year-old midfielder is being headhunted by the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester City, and if he doesn’t sign a new contract, Dortmund are believed to be determined to demand the figure of €150million to relinquish his services. If he does sign a new deal, they’ll probably keep him for another season, but it’s likely to include a much more reasonable buyout clause.

Team News

Head coach Edin Terzic also has a number of players who will not be making the London trip. One of them is Adeyemi, the scorer of the winning goal in the first leg, who has suffered a muscle fibre tear. Wingers Donyell Malen (ankle) and Julien Duranville (muscle) are also unavailable, as is the usual alternative for Adeyemi, Youssouf Moukoko (syndesmotic ligament rupture), and right-back Mateu Morey (lack of match fitness). Goalkeeper Gregor Kobel missed the Leipzig game through a thigh problem, and though he might be on the London plane, he’s likely to remain on the bench.

If so, Alex Meyer will be between the posts again, with centre-backs Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Sule flanked by Marius Wolf on the right and Raphael Guerreiro on the left. Salih Ozcan will anchor the midfield, with Emre Can likely to play box-to-box together with Bellingham. With so many attackers missing, Terzic is likely to call upon Sebastien Haller to lead the line, with Julian Brandt and captain Marco Reus supporting the winner of a recent battle against testicular cancer.


There’s no choice for Chelsea but to go out and do their best to win this match; any other outcome would obviously mean elimination from the competition for Potter’s team. But it remains to be seen if they have what it takes to beat the in-form Bundesliga contenders, who will be looking to take advantage of the recent poor form of the home side to book a place in the quarterfinals.

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 11/4

Bookmaker: Betfair


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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