Preview: Borussia Dortmund v APOEL

Borussia Dortmund v Koln: Sokratis Papasthathopoulos

Borussia Dortmund will be looking to keep their UEFA Champions League campaign alive when they face APOEL in Group H on Wednesday evening.

UEFA Champions League
1 November 2017
Matchday 4
Kick-off: 20:45 local time
Venue: Signal Iduna Park

Referee: M. Jug
Assistants: M. Zunic, M. Vidali
Fourth official: T. Pospeh

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Dortmund 1 0 1 0
APOEL 1 0 1 0

Players to watch:

No matter how erratic Dortmund’s form is, one consistent performer is their attacking talisman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – and with 15 goals in as many games, the Gabonese striker has continued his impressive goalscoring exploits for Peter Bosz’s side.

While the 1-1 draw in Nicosia last time out was embarrassing for BVB as it left them on the brink of elimination after only three games, it’s likely that Aubameyang will rise to the occasion to remind Europe why they remain one of the most feared attacking teams around.

Meanwhile, the Cypriot club will be looking to repeat their admirable display as they handled Dortmund’s high-pressing with relative ease for large parts of the encounter on matchday 3.

Lorenzo Ebecilio was a constant thorn in Dortmund’s side and if they are to gain a shock result at Signal Iduna Park, the Dutch playmaker will have to be at his very best.

Bundles of energy and an eye for a brilliant pass, the former Ajax junior will be keen to help Thrylos get one over BVB with an eye for a potential Europa League spot from the tough group that also consists of Tottenham and Real Madrid.


Team form and manager quotes:

Both teams come into the fixture with indifferent form of late, with the European outings seemingly affecting their strong domestic league starts.

Dortmund’s recent 4-2 defeat against Hannover has seen Bayern Munich ascend above them to the league summit, while they suffered defeats to Spurs and Real in their opening two Group H games.

Bosz plans to fight on until it’s mathematically impossible for them to progress and he’s hoping for a response in the return fixture in midweek.

“If it is not over, you have to keep believing. If there is still a chance, even a small one, you have to try,” the Dutch coach said in his pre-match press conference.

“But tomorrow’s game is important: we can work on our way of playing and on our confidence. A draw is not enough.

“Of course we have a plan B. We have even played it already if you look closely. But I think it is right that we have spoken about and worked on plan A. If we had carried out plan A well, there wouldn’t be these questions.

“We could see it was a difficult game for us at APOEL. But for me it is more important what we do on the pitch. It is important for us to put in a good performance tomorrow and that’s what we will focus on.”

APOEL languish in eighth place in the Cypriot First Division, having lost and drawn since their 1-1 stalemate with Dortmund earlier this month.

However, the credible result would have been a real boost of confidence for a club who weren’t tipped to take any points off their more illustrious opponents.


Team news:

The hosts will welcome back defenders Omer Toprak and Raphael Guerreiro for this crucial fixture.

APOEL’s first-choice stopper Boy Waterman misses out after suffering a shoulder injury against the same opposition.

Full-backs Roberto Lago and Praxitelis Vouros will face late fitness tests, while Facundo Bertoglio is definitely ruled out with an injury.

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