With goal machine Erling Haaland back in flying form and Marco Reus, Jude Bellingham and the soon-to-return Gio Reyna in support, Borussia Dortmund should once again prove too strong for Turkish champions Besiktas in the UEFA Champions League.
1) Erling Haaland: Mr Champions League
Back to fitness and eager to add to his already formidable UEFA Champions League reputation, Norwegian powerhouse Haaland will be salivating over the prospect of bowing out of this year's tournament with even more goals to his name. In his first 18 outings at European football's top table, the 21-year-old has already plundered 21 goals. That's right, he's averaging over a goal per game having made quite an impact in the competition, right from his early days at Red Bull Salzburg.
His eight goals in six group stage games for the Austrians were added to with two more in his first two outings in the competition for Dortmund, taking him to 10 for the season, fewer only than Robert Lewandowski's 15 in Bayern Munich's title-winning campaign. Haaland does not settle for second best, though, and in his first full campaign for BVB, he scored a competition-high 10 goals.
That was two more than Kylian Mbappe, who went one round further than Haaland with Paris Saint-Germain, and four more than Karim Benzema, who also had two more games in the competition.
That record rightly earned the Norwegian the award of UEFA's Forward of the Season. Despite an injury setback earlier this season, Haaland will be keen to add to his impressive tally in European football's elite competition with the Bundesliga giants on Tuesday, having scored twice in two Bundesliga games since his return from a hip injury.
Watch: The Erling Haaland Story
2) Goals, goals, goals
Speaking of goals, Dortmund (with 35 goals) are currently second only to Bayern and level with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga's top-scoring charts and are holding their own in terms of the top five European leagues, sitting behind just four other teams.
Haaland has supplied just under a third of them, but the goalscoring burden at BVB these days is spread across many more shoulders, with seven different goalscorers this season. Raphael Guerreiro, Julian Brandt, Reus, Reyna, Bellingham and Thorgan Hazard have all been among the goals.
Compare that to Besiktas, who have scored 22 Super League goals all season, and a quick calculation would make Dortmund almost twice as likely to score.
3) Going out on a high
UEFA Champions League Group C may be already set in stone, but that doesn't mean third-place finishers, Dortmund, will have nothing to play for. With the opportunity of doing the double over their Turkish opponents on the cards, BVB will be keen to set themselves up for their next European adventure with a morale boosting win, particularly after last weekend's Der Klassiker setback.
Coach Marco Rose will be eager to rally his troops and get the Die Schwarzgelben back to the form that has seen them enjoy 10 top-flight wins and which produced victories in their opening two UEFA Champions League encounters this season. "We have to work on being more uncompromising and clinical," the Dortmund tactician said after his side's loss in Lisbon last time out. There is no better time to put things right.
Watch: Dortmund's Rose diamond
4) Welcome to Dortmund!
Besiktas and Istanbul’s other heavyweights Fenerbahce and Galatasaray are known for their fervent atmospheres, with the latter once greeting Manchester United with a banner reading “Welcome to hell”. Besiktas, though, claim to have the world’s loudest supporters after a cheer back in 2007 was registered at 132 decibels – almost the sound of a military jet taking off.
There must simply be no devices registering sound levels in Dortmund…
In pre-covid times, their Signal Iduna Park - venue for Tuesday's encounter - boasted the highest average attendance of any football ground in the world with over 81,000 – and they did it loud. The more than 24,000-strong south stand, the Yellow Wall, was in itself a wave of noise rushing across the field. Players in black and yellow know what a genuinely loud football stadium sounds like.
5) European pedigree
Besiktas may be one of the most decorated clubs in Turkey, but they lack serious European pedigree, which has been shown to count in the Champions League. They have never gone beyond the quarter-finals in the European Cup or UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League and only progressed from their group once in the Champions League era. That then saw them thrashed 8-1 on aggregate by Bayern in the 2017/18 round of 16.
By contrast, Dortmund boast a proud European record. They were the first German team to win a continental title when they lifted the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965/66 after beating Liverpool 2-1 in Glasgow. They were then the first Bundesliga club to claim the European Cup following its rebranding as the Champions League, doing so in 1996/97 by beating Juventus 3-1 in Munich.
BVB have been in the Champions League final as recently as 2012/13 when they were only beaten late by Klassiker rivals Bayern. They have also featured in the UEFA Cup final twice.
German clubs in Europe in 2022/23
All fixtures and results of the eight Bundesliga teams competing across the UEFA Champions, Europa and Conference League.
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