Thomas Tuchel's Borussia Dortmund face a daunting challenge as they meet Portuguese side SL Benfica in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 to be played on 8th March at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund.
Although Dortmund looked like the stronger side with almost 70% possession and 5 clear cut chances, Benfica won the first leg held in Lisbon by a 1-0 scoreline after a goal from Kostas Mitroglou. The match also saw Aubemeyang’s penalty saved by Benfica keeper Ederson.
Star strikers Marco Reus and Mario Gotze won’t feature in the Dortmund line-up this time due to injuries. Gotze has been diagnosed with myopathy and has been sidelined indefinitely, to what could be a career ending disease. Reus has been ruled out from the side until April due to a torn left hamstring. Also on the injury list for Dortmund are Sven Bender and Sebastian Rode. The injuries mean Dortmund would likely start with Schurrle up front and Marcel Schmelzer in the midfield. French “wunderkid” Ousmane Dembele will also likely feature in the side.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) March 7, 2017
Although Benfica have a better head-to-head record, Dortmund look forward to maintaining a 100% home record against Portuguese clubs winning their last five matches. Also, history shows that Benfica aren’t great performers on German soil, winning only 2 of their last 22 matches and losing 14. Dortmund are looking to enter the quarterfinals for the 3rd time this decade while Benfica have entered the last eight twice in the last five years.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 8, 2017
Aubemayang and Dembele will be the players to look out for, with the former looking at his chance of redemption for his miss in Portugal. Dembele has been crucial for his side with the young Frenchman racking up 7 goals and 14 assists in all competitions. The crowd are sure to cheer them on, with the famous yellow wall expected to provide an ecstatic atmosphere for this exciting clash.