The Champions League resumes this week, with Chelsea looking to establish a first-leg lead over Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.
Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund
Current Records: Chelsea 4-1-1; Borussia Dortmund 2-3-1
What to Know
The Champions League is back! After a short break, the round of 16 is ready to kick off on Wednesday. Having advanced past the group stage, Borussia Dortmund will now face off against Chelsea at 3:00 p.m. ET on February 15th at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK. Since Borussia Dortmund’s past three matches have been decided by no more than a goal, don’t be surprised if it’s a close one.
What you need to know about Chelsea
Meanwhile, Chelsea weren’t the first on the board back in November of 2022, but they got there more often. Chelsea won by a goal and slipped past Dinamo Zagreb 2-1. The win was familiar territory for Chelsea who now have four in a row.
Borussia Dortmund didn’t make it this far last season, having been eliminated in the group stage by Besiktas. As for Chelsea, they made it all the way to the quarter-finals but were eliminated by Real Madrid by a score of 3-2.
Borussia Dortmund will no doubt be looking for a more decisive result in this contest. We’ll find out soon enough whether it’s one that they end up liking.
What is the team news?
Borussia Dortmund strikerYoussoufa Moukoko suffered a torn syndesmosis ligament against Bremen and is expected to be out for six weeks. Thomas Meunier is also absent as he continues his recovery from a torn muscle fibre but Julian Ryerson should be fit to feature following illness.
Chelsea will be without Armando Broja, N’Golo Kante, Edouard Mendy and Christian Pulisic. Denis Zakaria and Wesley Fofana have stepped up their rehabilitations from injury but are likely to miss out as well due to lack of match fitness.
Borussia Dortmund XI: Kobel, Ryerson, Sule, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro, Can, Reyna, Bellingham, Reus, Brandt, Haller
Chelsea XI: Kepa, James, T. Silva, Koulibaly, Cucurella, E. Fernandez, Gallagher, Mount, Felix, Mudryk, Havertz
Borussia Dortmund are a slight favorite against Chelsea, according to the latest Champions League odds, being +144 to win.
The over/under is set at 2.5 goals.
Over three months after the Champions League group stage concluded, the knockout stage begins again as the Blues head to Germany. In Dortmund, Chelsea meet a club they’ve shockingly never faced before in a rare inaugural matchup between European giants.
Chelsea, who sit 10th in the Premier League, know their injury crisis is slowly receding, but survival here is necessary in this Round of 16 first leg before reinforcements arrive in bulk ahead of the return fixture at Stamford Bridge.
As it stands, Chelsea are in ninth place in the Premier League, 10 points off of the pace of Newcastle United for a top-four spot. This is a club that is only successful when it is competing for trophies, but having already been bounced from the FA and EFL Cups, an early exit from Champions League would see its European hopes dwindle for next season.
Missing out on Champions League soccer could be costly in more ways than one as well following Chelsea’s spending. Despite giving their new additions seven to eight year contracts to spread the spending over multiple years, there could still be financial fair play implications due to the club making less in revenue without European soccer. Recruitment also suffers as players want to go to title contenders who participate in Champions League, and rake in the correspondingly higher wages that European revenue stream allows.
If the team is serious about backing Potter, it would show that things are actually changing at Stamford Bridge but a loss to Dortmund will test their patience. It will be quite a test but as pressure mounts, this is a must win tie for Potter. While the team has backed him and says they’ll stick by him, no manager wants to figure out how many defeats will cause a supportive board to change their minds.