Champions League distracts Dortmund from Bundesliga woes
Borussia Dortmund have a 100 per cent Champions League record this season, which is why Coral make them odds-on 5/6 favourites to beat Galatasaray in Istanbul, but is in stark contrast to their domestic form.
The Westfalenstadion outfit have made their worst-ever Bundesliga start under enigmatic manager Jurgen Klopp, who has been combating a growing injury crisis and steady stream of player poaching in recent years. For Dortmund’s domestic woes, which include their lowest points total (seven) joint-most conceded (14) during Klopp’s seven seasons in charge, they have scored five goals without reply in Europe’s elite club competition.
Speaking after a 2-1 defeat to Cologne in their last outing, Borussia boss Klopp said: “We played a kind of football which is absolutely pointless. We’ve got to face the music again. We’ve got to eradicate these mistakes. We’ve got to resolve this and nobody’s going to help us.”
Galatasaray gaffer and shameless tactical pragmatist Cesare Prandelli will certainly do Dortmund no favours. His side, who have picked up some form in the Turkish Super Lig following three straight wins (using three different formations), are 10/3 outsiders to carry that form over into Europe. A draw is an 11/4 chance.
If punters go on previous Champions League meetings, then Dortmund will win, as they did so home and away when they were holders of the competition in 1997/98. A repeat 1-0 scoreline in Istanbul to bolster Klopp’s side comes in at 17/2.
Both teams are heavily reliant on their strikers for goals in Europe. For hosts Gala, Burak Yilmaz has netted in each of their two group stage outings so far, and he is 11/5 in the anytime market to do so again here. So too has Dortmund summer signing Ciro Immobile, however, with the Italy international shorter at 6/4.
Colombia forward Adrian Ramos, also drafted in by Klopp to try and share departed Robert Leandowski’s scoring burden at Borussia, bagged a brace off the bench on his last Champions League appearance against Anderlecht. He is a 7/1 shot to equal or better that in Istanbul, and an 11/2 chance to score last again.
Klopp’s injury crisis abated somewhat in Cologne, where attacker Marco Reus and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan both returned from lay-offs. The latter is hardly likely to be up to playing two games so close together, though, following almost an 18-month absence with a fractured spine vertebrae.
Shinji Kagawa’s return means there is cover to rest Reus, despite the visitors still missing Jakub Blaszczykowski out wide. Midfielder Nuri Sahin is still sidelined, plus major doubts over the fitness of full backs Erik Durm and Marcel Schmelzer continue.
Dortmund must manage their stars carefully, rather than gamble on their fragile fitness and over-rely on them for an upturn in fortune. They have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions, but had saved their best form for the Champions League.
Borussia should be wary of Wesley Sneijder, as the Dutch playmaker has three goals in his last two appearances for Galatasaray. Fine odds of 14/5 say he will enhance that recent record by netting again anytime.
Mats Hummels will need to get back to his best, marshalling a potentially depleted Dortmund defence. Having managed two wins to nil in this competition so far, however, odds of 13/5 say Klopp’s club can do just that again to escape their troubles.