Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Borussia Dortmund

Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Borussia Dortmund

Two sides battling it out for second place in Group C will lock horns on Wednesday night, as Sporting Lisbon welcome Borussia Dortmund to the Estadio Jose Alvalade for their penultimate Champions League group-stage clash.

Both clubs are level on points after four matches, though Dortmund currently occupy second place as they have a better head-to-head record, due to their 1-0 win in the reverse fixture in September.
Sporting Lisbon claimed their ninth successive victory across all competitions when they narrowly beat Portuguese second division outfit Varzim 2-1 in the fourth round of the Taca de Portugal last weekend.

This impressive winning streak from Ruben Amorim’s side also includes two triumphs in the Champions League, which have helped salvage their hopes of reaching the knockout rounds, following a poor start to their group-stage campaign.

A 5-1 thrashing by Ajax in their opening Group C game was followed by a slender 1-0 loss to Wednesday’s opponents Borussia Dortmund; however, since then, comfortable victories home and away against Besiktas, by an aggregate score of 8-1, has pulled them back into contention heading into their final two games against the two clubs currently above them in the group.

Confidence is high within the Sporting camp at present; however, their form against German opposition, including Dortmund, leaves a little to be desired.

The Lions have lost all three previous encounters against BVB and they have also lost more games (10) and conceded more goals (32) against German teams in the Champions League than against sides from any other country, winning just one of their last 13 in the process.

To book their place in the last 16 for the first time since 2007-08, Sporting need to beat Dortmund by two or more goals on Wednesday. A draw would mean their fate will be decided in the final gameweek against Ajax, while defeat would see them demoted to the last 32 of the Europa League.

Borussia Dortmund avoided a third successive loss across all competitions, when they secured a narrow 2-1 victory at home to Stuttgart in the Bundesliga last weekend.

After Roberto Massimo’s 63rd-minute equaliser for the visitors had cancelled out a 56th-minute opener from Donyell Malen, BVB legend Marco Reus was on hand to score the winner five minutes from time to seal all three points for the hosts.

The Dortmund faithful will be delighted to see Reus firing on all cylinders once again in the famous yellow-and-black jersey; the 32-year-old has now found the net in each of his last four matches across all competitions for club and country and will likely play an important part on Wednesday.

Marco Rose’s side enjoyed a bright start to their Champions League campaign, winning 2-1 and 1-0 against Besiktas and Sporting respectively. However, disappointing defeats in both encounters against Ajax – losing by an aggregate score of 7-1 – have all but ended their hopes of finishing top of Group C and they are now at risk of missing out on a place in the last 16.

With Dortmund currently ahead of Sporting in Group C, after their win against them in September, Dortmund head to Portugal with the knowledge that a victory on Wednesday would confirm their place in the Champions League knockouts for the fourth successive campaign, which would equal their best run in the competition between 2012-13 and 2016-17.

Sporting Lisbon Champions League form:
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Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions):
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Borussia Dortmund Champions League form:
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Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions):
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We say: Sporting Lisbon 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
With Sporting needing to win by at least two goals to advance to the knockout rounds, the hosts are expected to pose an attacking threat throughout the 90 minutes, which could cause problems for Dortmund’s depleted side.

The visitors, meanwhile, may take a more cautious approach to Wednesday’s clash as a draw would still keep their last-16 hopes in their own hands heading into the final Group C match next month.

With little to separate these two sides, a score draw could be on the cards at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

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