Out-of-sorts Chelsea make a daunting trip to Signal Iduna Park to meet high-flying Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
It’s been a flawless start to the new calendar year for Die Borussen as they’ve won all six matches across domestic competitions since Germany’s club football resumed in 2023.
Edin Terzic’s men have run riot in the Bundesliga since the turn of the year, racking up an eye-catching five-game winning streak by an aggregate score of 15-5 to close the gap on leaders Bayern Munich to three points.
Not only are Dortmund firmly in contention to snap the Bavarians’ decade-long dominance of German football, but they must be relishing their odds of reaching the Champions League quarter-final for the second time in three years.
The German heavyweights’ confidence stretches deeper than just their sublime form in 2023, as they can also rely on Chelsea’s dreadful run under heavily criticised manager Graham Potter to aid their cause.
Exiting the Champions League in the first knockout round could be the final straw to break the camel’s back, with infuriated Stamford Bridge fans already calling for the 47-year-old’s dismissal amid the club’s inability to challenge for European placings in the Premier League.
Since a narrow 1-0 home triumph over fellow London rivals Crystal Palace in mid-January, the Pensioners have drawn three consecutive league matches, including a 1-1 tie at West Ham United last Saturday.
Languishing ten points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle United, Chelsea may see the Champions League title as the only realistic chance to compete in Europe’s elite competition next season.
Despite picking up just two wins in six Champions League group fixtures in autumn (D3, L1), Dortmund finished runners-up to Manchester City in Group G to return to the knockout phase after a season-long absence.
However, Die Borussen went winless in both group clashes against the Cityzens (D1, L1), taking their ponderous European streak without beating English opponents to ten straight games (D2, L8).
That’s unlikely to faze the hosts, as they remain safe in the knowledge they’ve only lost four of their last 21 home outings in the Champions League (W10, D7), though it’s worth noting that of those losses have been against Premier League sides.
In stark contrast to their wasteful Premier League season, Chelsea have flourished in the Champions League under Potter, managing four wins and a draw in five group matches after the sacking of Thomas Tuchel.
Potter’s standout European record now faces a stern test, with the Blues coming out victorious on just three of their last 11 visits to German soil in the Champions League (D3, L5).
Chelsea’s horrendous run of one win from eight competitive matches in 2023 (D4, L3) only strengthens fears among travelling supporters.
Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea Potential Line-ups
Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Gregor Kobel; Julian Ryerson, Niklas Sule, Nico Schlotterbeck, Raphael Guerreiro; Salih Ozcan, Jude Bellingham; Karim Adeyemi, Marco Reus, Julian Brandt; Sebastien Haller.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Reece James, Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah, Marc Cucurella; Enzo Fernandez, Mateo Kovacic; Joao Felix, Mason Mount, Mykhailo Mudryk; Kai Havertz.
How to Watch?
Dortmund vs Chelsea, alongside all other matches in Europe’s most prestigious club competition this season, is available to watch online via Champions League live streams.
And if you are interested in attending a future UCL game, see our Champions League tickets page for more information.
Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea Prediction
With momentum and confidence firmly on Dortmund’s side going into this tie, backing them to end Potter’s unbeaten European run in charge of Chelsea looks the only reasonable choice.
Though we’d leave a backdoor open for the Blues to take advantage of their hosts’ proneness to making defensive blunders, we expect the Germans to carry a lead into the return leg.
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Chelsea
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