Down on their luck after their "worst performance" of the season and missing key players, such as Jakub Blaszczykowski, BVB's build-up to the first of their back-to-back meetings with the nine-time European champions has been far from smooth. Jürgen Klopp's charges proved themselves during their 1-1 draw with Manchester City, but having done well to nullify the threat posed by Sergio Agüero and David Silva, Dortmund's recently shaky defence now faces the mammoth task of doing a similar job against one of the world's most intimidating forwards - Cristiano Ronaldo.
With four goals to his name the Portuguese superstar is currently the tournament's top goalscorer and, given the alarming rate at which lapses at the back have been afflicting Dortmund of late, Ronaldo will be licking his lips at the prospect of adding to that tally. At Tuesday's pre-match press conference, Klopp singled him out as a player who "will cause trouble if you let him run at you." That said, the head coach was at pains to stress that Real as a whole were a team "of extreme quality."
In order to minimise the threat posed by the Spanish side's most renowned player, Dortmund need to strike the right balance between maintaining their width and tightening up when necessary. While he is adept with both feet, it is no secret that Ronaldo prefers to cut inside - reflected in the fact that 16 of his 20 shots this season and nine of his last ten goals in Europe have been executed with his right foot. The onus will falls on Lukasz Piszczek, who has just signed a contract extension, to keep Ronaldo in check and as a result the Polish international may have to curb his own attacking instincts in order to minimise the space between himself and central defensive colleague Neven Subotic.
Bogey country for Real
Klopp, who also pointed out that the game in Manchester "demonstrated just how good we can be when we're totally committed, as we will be against Real," may look to the old adage of "attack being the best form of defence” though, after making a tactical miscalculation with his 3-5-2 formation against Schalke. "Losing the derby is very, very difficult to accept, especially playing at home. On Wednesday we've got a chance to make things a lot better," said captain Sebastian Kehl - alongside goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and his Real counterpart Iker Casillas, one of the three remaining players to have featured the last time these two sides met competitvely, in February 2003.
Lars Ricken, who was also a member of that squad and is the last Dortmund player to have scored against Spanish opposition, believes BVB have a chance to add to Madrid's miserable record in Germany, where they have won just one of their previous 23 meetings. "Considering Real have problems in their backline, not least because they're missing three left-backs, I can see Dortmund putting in a good performance," the 1997 Champions League winner said.
The Dortmund way
Ricken is confident the German champions will have put the disappointment of the weekend loss to Schalke behind them by the time they step out onto the pitch, noting "What sets this team apart is their absolute desire to achieve the extraordinary. I'm sure the players can't wait for this match and come the kick-off, they won't be all that bothered about who they're up against." And as far as Ronaldo goes, Ricken succinctly summarised the credo of Germany's self-styled football capital - "We prefer playing to posing!"
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Großkreutz - S. Bender, Kehl - M. Götze, Perisic, Reus - Lewandowski
Real Madrid: Casillas - Sergio Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Essien - Khedira, Xabi Alonso - di Maria, Özil, C. Ronaldo - Higuain