Borussia Dortmund vs Internazionale: UEFA Champions League - Preview and Prediction
Inter Milan travel to the Signal Iduna Park to take on one time European champion Borussia Dortmund.
The German club is punching above its weight in spite of being plagued by several injuries to crucial players over the season. They sit second in the Bundesliga table and look primed to mount a serious title challenge.
The Black and Yellows are third in a difficult Champions League group and are only behind second placed Inter on goal difference. This clash is very crucial as it may decide the second team to qualify for the knockout stage as European powerhouse Barcelona sits at the top of the table with a three point lead.
The Nerazzurri on the other hand are performing admirably well this season. The appointment of Antonio Conte and the clever splurge in the transfer market is beginning to pay dividends.
The Antonio Conte’s side are second in the Serie A table in what is proving out to be the most competitive season in a long time. The young guns along with experienced figures such as Godin can well and truly carry them to the Scudetto.
The Milan based club also sits second in their Champions League group only behind the mighty Barcelona. They also comprehensively beat Dortmund in the reverse fixture last month and are more favoured to go through to the knockout stage of the competition.
Dortmund’s captain and their biggest star, Marco Reus is out of this clash after lasting just 28 minutes in Dortmund's 3-0 win over Wolfsburg over the weekend. This may pave way for a returning Paco Alcacer to lead the line.
Thorgan Hazard and Achraf Hakimi will start on the flanks as starlet Jadon Sancho has been out of favour over the last month. Julian Brandt can also play as the false nine.
For Nerazzurri, Alexis Sanchez, Danilo D'Ambrosio and Stefano Sensi continue to miss out for Inter. Diego Godin may play on the left or right of Stefen de Vrij in a three-man defence. Inter has a well settled look to their eleven and Conte will be inclined to play the same team which defeated Dortmund last month.
Achraf Hakimi vs Diego Godin
The Real Madrid loanee has been a revelation for Dortmund and has upstaged English star, Jadon Sancho to start on the wings. He is also the only Moroccan to win the Champions League.
Primarily a defender, Hakimi versatility has caught the eye of the footballing fraternity as a player, who is well adapt in defence as well as attack and thus give his team plenty of options. The 20-year old has also scored two goals in the competition so far and looks hungry for more
Diego Godin has long been one of the best defenders on the planet and his capture can well and truly be the missing puzzle for Inter in their quest for trophies. The Uruguayan is very crucial to the Nerazzurri backline as he brings vast experience and a winning mentality to the table.
The former Atletico man can be a tough nut to crack for the young Dortmund attacking line who are bereft of Marco Reus. His tenacious approach away at such a daunting stadium can prove out to be the difference in bringing Inter a positive result.
The duo have faced each other in Madrid and may know a thing or two about each other. Hakimi being a defender may be aware about how their mind works and this can tilt the bar in his favour.
Mats Hummels vs Lautaro Martinez
Martinez scored the crucial opening goal in the reverse fixture to ease the pressure on Inter. The Argentine has formed a deadly attacking pair with Romelu Lukaku, which may give sleepless nights to the Dortmund’s defence.
The 22-year old has a keen eye for goal and he has already scored two times in the competition. After scoring at Camp Nou, he would want to add another iconic European stadium in Westfalenstadion to his tally.
Hummels on the other hand has his usual assured self for Dortmund. Along with his defensive traits, his immaculate passing may be required to breach a well-oiled Inter defence.
The German may be past his prime but his experience will count a lot in this crucial encounter, which may decide Dortmund future prospects in the competition. In the three matches he has played, he is averaging almost 4 tackles and interceptions each, which tell its own story.
This battle may be an aerial one as both the players possess excellent heading ability. Hummels would not want to give an inch to the Inter duo of Martinez and Lukaku to pounce on, whereas, Martinez will make his runs and will look to get his head onto a myriad of crosses, which would come his way.
The two-time champions, Inter has gone from strength to strength this season. The Nerazzurri are also unbeaten in their last five matches and are scoring goals for fun and looks well settled between the two sides.
Whereas, Dortmund have failed to score in six of their last eight matches. They were also not able to display their fluid attacking game last time around, which costed them dearly.
Although, the Black and Yellow are playing on home this time around, which can prove out to be the catalyst in getting a positive result.
Inter looks the better team as of now but the Germans are playing at their home which may spur them on. We predict that the spoils will be shared at the Signal Iduna Park.