Dortmund vs Chelsea – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Wednesday 15th February 2023
Signal Iduna Park
As part of our Champions League predictions, we take a look at Chelsea’s last 16 clash with Borussia Dortmund. Chelsea are slowly improving and are undefeated in four, but will that be enough against in-form Dortmund? Read on with our Dortmund vs Chelsea prediction.
Dortmund vs Chelsea Match Preview
Dortmund’s passage to the Champions League round of 16 was relatively straightforward, despite finishing with only 9 points from six matches in Group G. Perhaps the main reason why lies in Sevilla’s well-publicised struggles this season, as the Spanish club mirrored their poor domestic form in taking only five points in the group and picking up a solitary win against FC Copenhagen. Dortmund for their part can attribute their progression largely to a superb 4-1 victory in Seville, and losing just once during the group stage – a 2-1 away defeat to group leaders Man City.
Domestically, Dortmund are in superb form. In fact, they have won all six of their matches in the Bundesliga (5) and DFB Pokal (1) since the restart in January following the World Cup break and extended winter break in the German football calendar, as Terzic’s charges look to mount what would have been viewed earlier in the season as a rather unlikely title challenge.
Chelsea recovered from an ignominious start to their Champions League campaign under previous manager Thomas Tuchel to top Group E ahead of Italian champions AC Milan. With a somewhat scattergun recruitment policy and rumours of interference on the coaching side from upper management, the Blues will be thankful that their Champions League form has not been noticeably impacted by their rather indifferent domestic form. Back-to-back victories over AC Milan, including a superb 3-0 victory at the San Siro, will surely give them a confidence boost coming into this crucial knockout tie.
As we’ve just touched upon, Chelsea are in the midst of a poor Premier League campaign by their standards. With just two wins in their last 10 Premier League games, Champions League qualification via a top-four finish appears to be out of reach barring a marked improvement from the 2021 UCL winners. Though 10 points wouldn’t ordinarily represent an insurmountable obstacle for a club such as Chelsea with the talent they have at their disposal, they’ve done nothing of late to suggest that they can muster the kind of performances required to achieve such a feat.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Duranville, Morey Bauza, Moukoko, Wolf
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Aubameyang, Badiashile, Broja, Kante, Madueke, Mendy, Pulisic, Sterling
Dortmund vs Chelsea Lineups (Predicted)
Dortmund (4-3-3): Kobel; Guerreiro, Schlotterbeck, Sule, Ryerson; Can, Reus, Bellingham; Brandt, Reyna, Haller
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Arrizabalaga, Chilwell, Chalobah, Silva, James; Fernandez, Loftus-Cheek; Mudryk, Joao Felix, Ziyech; Havertz
Dortmund vs Chelsea Analysis
Chelsea’s Mean Defence
While it may seem strange to be talking about defensive prowess amid a run of domestic form that has seen Chelsea earn precisely one point per game over the last 10 Premier League fixtures, Graham Potter’s men have conceded one goal in four games, and seven in 10. This suggests something of a back-to-basics tactical approach – shut the back door first, do the basics right and then imprint the preferred style of play. This makes sense when you consider the scale of Chelsea’s recruitment.
In a similar manner to Nottingham Forest’s extensive recruitment, it becomes difficult to integrate so many new faces and results were bound to suffer in the short term. Chelsea have brought in no fewer than 16 players this season and sold or released 15, not including outgoing loans. Now more than ever in the modern game, where patterns of play owe less to spontaneity than intensive training ground exercises, this level of integration was destined to cause some issues.
Where Chelsea have been consistently successful is in limiting the opposition to five shots on target or fewer. While it would be plainly ridiculous to suggest that Chelsea are unbreachable, as they found to their cost against West Ham on the weekend, one goal conceded in four games is perhaps a style of football which lends itself well to knockout football.
This is more important than ever now in the context of two-legged, knockout football in continental competitions. With the away goals rule now scrapped, Chelsea aren’t under the same pressure to search for an away goal in this match, which means they can adopt something of a more defensive posture and concentrate on limiting the in-form Germans in the final third. To this end, we expect the Blues to line up with two defensive midfielders in Enzo Fernandez (who also provides a creative function but is very capable of ‘sitting in’) and the hard-working Ruben Loftus-Cheek who is something of a coach’s favourite.
Is Dortmund’s Form Really So Impressive? – A Look Beneath the Surface
15 points from 15 points is an exceptional return regardless of the opposition. Europe’s elite sides drop points to ‘lesser’ sides with far more regularity than you may think. However, we would be remiss to take this form completely at face value. We can start with Dortmund’s hugely impressive 5-1 home victory over fourth-placed Freiburg. A brilliant result, no doubt, although not entirely unexpected when we consider Kiliann Sildillia’s 17th-minute dismissal for two yellow cards.
A 2-0 victory away to Leverkusen, who competed in this year’s Champions League and finished third in last year’s Bundesliga campaign is again, a very impressive result. Until perhaps when we take into account that Leverkusen have lost 45% of their Bundesliga games this season and have conceded more than 1.5 goals per game as Xabi Alonso has toiled to right the ship following a disastrous start to the season.
A 2-0 victory over Werder Bremen inflicted Bremen’s sixth home defeat in 11 matches. A 4-3 home victory over Augsburg forms part of a terrible away run on their part which has seen them concede 14 goals over their last five away matches in the Bundesliga. A hard-fought 2-1 victory at Mainz was against a backdrop of Mainz having, up until that point, earned seven points in eight home Bundesliga fixtures.
While this may seem as though we’re adopting an every silver lining has a cloud stance, Dortmund have been picking up the results though perhaps they should have been anyway, given the circumstances surrounding each fixture. There’s every possibility that Dortmund could take the game to Chelsea and make their breakthrough, but we also can’t ignore their failure to defeat Sevilla at home and Copenhagen away this season in the Champions League group stage.
We expect a tight, keenly contested game, mostly because we envisage Chelsea aiming to frustrate Dortmund in an effort to draw Dortmund onto them and create attacking opportunities for their pacey attacking quartet of Mudryk, Joao Felix, Ziyech and Havertz. Dortmund will be aware of the danger posed by Chelsea’s attackers even though they have struggled for goals domestically this season.
This will impact upon the flow of the game enormously. What would have, in previous seasons, been pencilled in as an exciting, free-flowing encounter will in all likelihood become something of a war of attrition, with Chelsea doing their utmost to shut down Dortmund in the final third. In the end, we feel that Chelsea will create enough opportunities on the counter to take one – Dortmund will probably overcommit on a few occasions as they look to break the deadlock, and we believe that Chelsea can take a somewhat improbable lead back to Stamford Bridge, albeit a slender one.
Dortmund 0-1 Chelsea
Dortmund vs Chelsea Betting Tip – Chelsea Odds:
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