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Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. Barcelona

Both Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona will be looking to start their Champions League group-stage campaigns with a win when the pair lock horns at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night.

The two teams have been drawn into Group F alongside Inter Milan and Slavia Prague, and it is shaping up to be a very interesting battle to secure the top two positions in the section.

Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund will head into Tuesday’s contest full of confidence following an impressive 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Marco Reus scored twice for the hosts, while Paco Alcacer and Raphael Guerreiro were also on the scoresheet during a fine performance.

BVB suffered a 3-1 loss to Union Berlin in their last game before the international break but returned to winning ways in impressive fashion to occupy second spot in the table – one point off leaders RB Leipzig.

Now the German club will switch their attention to the Champions League, and it will be fascinating to see how they perform in what is a tough group when considering Inter’s summer business, and indeed their new-found belief under serial winner Antonio Conte.

This is actually Dortmund’s 14th Champions League campaign – they won the competition in 1997, and claimed a runners-up spot in 2013. What’s more, they have reached the round of 16 in five of their last six participations, meaning that it would be somewhat of a surprise if they did not advance from this section.

Last season, the German outfit were eliminated by Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16, which included a 1-0 loss on home soil. Surprisingly, Dortmund have only won three of their last 10 European home matches, which is not the best record to bring into a clash with one of the finest sides in Europe.

That said, the Bundesliga giants have only lost three of their 15 home matches against Spanish opposition – winning five of the last seven. Indeed, last season, BVB recorded an impressive 4-0 home success over Atletico in the group stages, although they did lose the away clash 2-0 in the Spanish capital.

Dortmund have plenty of recent experience when it comes to facing Spanish opposition, but they have actually never locked horns with Barca in the Champions League. Indeed, their only two meetings came in the UEFA Super Cup back in 1998, where the La Liga outfit ran out 3-1 winners on aggregate.

Lucien Favre’s side will be feeling good about themselves following an impressive victory over Leverkusen, and a win over Barca on Tuesday night would suggest that the team are capable of being a force in the competition this season.

Recent form: WWWLW


Like Dortmund, Barca will enter the match off the back of a strong league win having recorded a 5-2 home success over Valencia on Saturday night. The Spanish champions were once again without a certain Lionel Messi but managed to put an important three points on the board.

Barca have already dropped points in two La Liga fixtures this season having lost to Athletic Bilbao and drawn with Osasuna, but Saturday’s win has seen them rise into fourth spot in the table. It was also another special night for 16-year-old Anssumane Fati, who scored his second goal for the club.

Luis Suarez also came off the bench to score twice on his return to the team, and the fact that the Uruguay international is now fit and available is a huge boost to the Catalan giants ahead of this match.

Messi is yet to play this season due to a calf problem, and Barca boss Ernesto Valverde recently admitted that the Argentina international is unlikely to be available for the clash with BVB. Suarez’s return is huge, but the Spanish champions are just not the same team when their talisman is not available.

Barca, who won their fourth La Liga title in five years last season, have not failed to qualify for the first knockout round of the Champions League since the 2000-01 campaign. They reached the semi-finals of last season’s competition after overcoming Lyon and Manchester United in the round off 16 and quarter-finals.

Valverde’s side looked destined to make the final after a 3-0 first-leg win over Liverpool, but the Premier League club incredibly recorded a 4-0 success at Anfield to advance. Barca have actually only won four of their last 13 away matches in European competition, which will hand Dortmund confidence.

What’s more, the La Liga side, who are five-time European champions, have won only two of their last seven matches against Bundesliga opposition on the road. Losing to Dortmund on Tuesday night would not be the end of the world for Barca, but as mentioned above, they are in a tricky group with Inter certainly showing signs of confidence under new head coach Conte.

Inter actually travel to Camp Nou on matchday two in the Champions League, and there would be huge pressure on Barca to pick up a positive result if they did suffer a defeat in Germany next week.

Recent form: LWDW



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