BREAKINGS : Chelsea FC told how to exploit Dortmund weakness as West Ham flop adds to Jude Bellingham threat to beat th.in tonight clash
Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund go head-to-head in a competitive match for the first time on Wednesday night.
This means the trip to Signal Iduna Park, a stadium well renowned for creating a ferocious and hostile atmosphere, is something of an unknown quantity for Chelsea. The Blues will know the difficulties of travelling to west Germany and picking up a result but it’s certainly not deemed impossible and Graham Potter will have confidence in his side’s ability to achieve just that.
The Black and Yellow are currently third in Bundesliga – just three points behind leaders Bayern Munich having played the same amount of games. Dortmund have won their last six matches in all competitions so Edin Terzic’s side come into the first-leg against Chelsea in sensational form.
The Germans also qualified from Group G of the Champions League with relative ease and comfort, coming in second-place behind Premier League champions Manchester City. Make no mistake about it – Chelsea are coming across a really dangerous side and should certainly not show any complacency over the two legs.
football.london caught up with Bundesliga expert Stefan Bienkowski to talk all things Dortmund ahead of the tie. Below are four questions asked to Bienkowski regarding Dortmund’s season thus far, the players Chelsea should watch out for, the strengths and weaknesses of the German team.
How have Dortmund done this season? What’s the overall reaction to their campaign thus far?
“The first half of the season was a frustrating one for Dortmund, but since new signing Sebastien Haller has joined the club after the winter break it has felt like they have really stepped up a gear. They are far more threatening in attack and have shown far more resolve to win games late on.”
Apart from the obvious Jude Bellingham, who else should Chelsea look out for?
“In terms of players likely to start, Jude Bellingham is the star. But if I was Chelsea, I’d be wary of Julian Brandt and Raphael Guerreiro.
“Both have really benefited from the formation change since Haller came back into the team and perhaps been Dortmund’s main playmakers. However, Terzic has also relied heavily on options from the bench if things haven’t been going well and that’s where Jamie Bynoe-Gittens has really thrived. I’d very surprised if he doesn’t feature in the second half against Chelsea.”
“Dortmund are still very shaky in defence. They have a great goalkeeper in Gregor Kobel, but both central defenders Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Sule are far better at passing with the ball than defending without it. Similarly, defensive midfielders Emre Can and Salih Ozcan have struggled this season, so they could be targeted in the middle of the pitch.”
What about the strengths? What should Chelsea be wary of?
“This Dortmund side now place a lot of emphasis on the wing-backs providing width and crosses for Haller to get on to, while Bellingham and Brandt play off the big target man. So the best solution for Chelsea would be to try and pin both wing-backs back in their own half to limit the service to Haller.”