Borussia Dortmund look to get back to winning ways when they face an in-form Salzburg in Thursday’s Europa League last-16 first leg clash at Signal Iduna Park in North Rhine-Westphalia.
UEFA Europa League
Date: 8 March 2018
Round of 16
Kick-off: 18H00 (GMT+2)
Venue: Signal Iduna Park
Referee: S. Vincic
Assistants: T. Klancnik, A. Kovacic
Fourth official: M. Zunic
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Dortmund 0 0 0 0
Salzburg 0 0 0 0
No previous meetings.
Players to watch:
Since arriving on loan from Chelsea in January, Michy Batshuayi has been in sparkling form having appeared seven times and scored five goals. His partner in crime in carrying the attack will no doubt be Marco Reus, who has netted three goals in four outings since returning from injury.
However, Dortmund is likely to face stiff resistance from a Salzburg defence that has the experienced Alexander Walke in goal. The 34-year-old has made eight Europa League appearances in 2017/18 while conceding just four times. In addition, the Austrian Bundesliga leaders have allowed just 17 league goals in 25 games.
Team form and manager quotes:
Die Schwarzgelben are unbeaten in 2018 however it does not disguise the fact that of the 10 matches played in all competitions, they have drawn six times and won on just four occasions.
Dortmund edged Atalanta in the previous round and will want to continue their progress in the competition with a victory over Die Roten Bullen.
Manager Peter Stoger said: “It won’t be easy, but they won’t be able to spring any surprises on us either. They’re in a very dangerous role as underdogs. I’m really looking forward to the game because it’s an exciting test.”
Meanwhile, the visitors from Wals-Siezenheim are enjoying a superb season having lost just once all season in the Austrian Bundesliga.
In addition to enjoying a 10-point lead at the top of the table domestically, Salzburg showed their pedigree in the previous round as they defeated La Liga outfit Real Sociedad.
As such, boss Marco Rose is relishing the prospect of facing the German giants. He told Sky Sports: “It will be a very exciting experience for Salzburg players who have never come to Dortmund, they will see the famous Yellow Wall at the Signal Iduna Park Stadium.
“We do not want to complain, but Peter Stoger managed to find stability in the Dortmund defence, and now their attack line has come back, even though for Stoger, his team is still considered unstable, for us everything about the team is stable.”
Raphael Guerreiro (muscle), Andriy Yarmolenko (tendon), Shinji Kagawa (ankle) are all out for the home side though Dortmund has no other notable concerns.
For the visitors, centre-back Duje Caleta-Car and centre-forward Fredrik Gulbransen could return to the starting line-up after missing the recent 1-0 victory over Rapid Vienna in the Bundesliga. The side otherwise has a clean bill of health.