Jadon Sancho's form, Achraf Hakimi's Champions League goals and a dominant previous meeting, BVB have every reason to believe they can beat Barcelona at Camp Nou. - © 2019 DFL
Jadon Sancho's form, Achraf Hakimi's Champions League goals and a dominant previous meeting, BVB have every reason to believe they can beat Barcelona at Camp Nou. - © 2019 DFL

5 reasons Borussia Dortmund can beat Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League group stage


With Jadon Sancho back among the goals, Achraf Hakimi proving the match-winner in Europe, a never-say-die attitude and the experience of the reverse fixture as encouragement, Borussia Dortmund have every reason to be optimistic ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League trip to Barcelona.

bundesliga.com outlines why Lucien Favre's men should harbour no fears as they travel to face the five-time European champions with the chance to secure a place in the last 16 with a win.

1) Jadon Sancho is back!

After a run of form which the England international will admit was not up to his usual high standards, the 19-year-old returned from representing his country looking revitalised with a goal and an assist in Dortmund's 3-3 draw with Paderborn on Friday. Sure, he was not firing on all cylinders in the first half, but his second-half performance suggests Sancho is back, and Barca better be beware.

Watch: Sancho under the tactical microscope!

Prior to that goal, you had to go back two months to the day to find his previous Bundesliga goal, in a 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt. His previous two goals came in wins and Dortmund have yet to lose this season whenever Sancho's name has been on the scoresheet.

Like any player, form can suffer from the odd dip, and it must not be forgotten that Sancho is still in his teens. "He's still a kid, he's 19, has all the right characteristics, and if he doesn't suffer a dip, he'll be a top player," Dortmund teammate Paco Alcacer said of Sancho - high praise from a man who played with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez at Barcelona.

"There are doubts because of his age, but as a player and a person in the dressing room, there's no faulting him. If he keeps improving and acquires a few more attributes, he'll be one of the best in the world."

High time for Sancho to open his account in the Champions League this season, and where better than at the iconic Camp Nou?

2) Dortmund dominated reverse fixture

It was a baptism of fire for Borussia in the Champions League this season when they hosted Barcelona back in September, but their performance at Signal Iduna Park warranted much more than just a goalless draw.

Marco Reus was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen several times in the reverse fixture, which Dortmund dominated. - 2019 Getty Images

Indeed, Die Schwarzgelben dominated the reverse fixture in a way one would normally expect to see the Catalans imposing themselves on their opponents.

The hosts had 14 shots on goal to Barca's seven, and they squandered a perfect opportunity to win it when Reus’ penalty was saved by former Borussia Mönchengladbach teammate Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

3) Hakimi the Euro expert

Full-back Achraf Hakimi has been Dortmund’s hero in the Champions League this season – not because of his defending, but his goals. The 21-year-old is the club’s top scorer in the competition with four goals, which is three more than the next best.

Quite simply, if the Morocco international doesn’t score, BVB don’t win. His brace in Prague on Matchday 2 was the difference in the 2-0 win over Slavia, while he bagged another at the Signal Iduna Park as Borussia came from 2-0 down against Inter to win 3-2 and set up their possibility to qualify for the knockout stage with a win in Barcelona.

Spain-born Hakimi has been Dortmund’s hero in the Champions League this season with four goals leading to wins in each game he scored. - imago images/Kirchner-Media

Hakimi is also the only Champions League winner in this current Dortmund squad having won it with parent club Real Madrid. Being born in the Spanish capital, he understands more than most what it means and takes to beat Barca. Expect to see a fired up Hakimi take to the Camp Nou pitch.

4) Never say die

It’s a game of two halves, it isn’t over until it’s over – both footballing clichés, both very true when it comes to Dortmund this season.

Favre’s men have won a league-high eight points from losing positions this season in the Bundesliga, while they have enjoyed rousing comebacks in all three competitions within the last month alone.

They came from behind to knock out league leaders Gladbach in the DFB Cup despite going 1-0 down with just 19 minutes to play. Just six days later the Black-Yellows fought back again with that above mentioned European victory over Antonio Conte’s Inter.

And most recently there was the biggest fightback of the lot on Friday when Sancho, Axel Witsel and Reus scored one each in the second half to come from 3-0 down against Paderborn and rescue a point in injury time.

Watch: Dortmund's thrilling comeback to Paderborn

Only RB Leipzig have scored more second-half goals in the league this season than Dortmund, while BVB have netted 40 per cent of their Champions League goals this term after the 75th minute, so don’t leave until that final whistle sounds.

5) Barca and Messi wobbling?

For the first time in decades, La Liga is unlikely to be won by a club posting over 80 points – at least if the current rate of results continues. Not since Valencia clinched the title in 2004 have so few points been needed to win the Spanish title, and that is an indication of how Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, who have been Spanish football's dominant forces in recent years, have lost a bit of their gloss this term.

At the weekend, Barca had to come from behind to beat bottom-placed Leganes 2-1, once again showing more than a few problems playing with the 4-2-4 formation Ernesto Valverde employed. Already the Blaugrana have lost three games domestically this season, matching the number of defeats they suffered in the whole of last season. Furthermore, their 0-0 draw against Prague confirmed their struggles this season are not only confined to Spain, as it was the first time since 2012/13 that they failed to score at home in a Champions League group game and have only scored four in four matches.

Lionel Messi has often cut a lonesome figure in a misfiring Barcelona attack this season. - imago images/AFLOSPORT

Perhaps some of that is down to talismanic leader Messi. He is now 32, but last season scored 12 goals in the competition - equalling the second-highest tally of his career - before Barca succumbed to eventual winners Liverpool in the semi-finals. His record of scoring 113 goals in 139 matches in the competition is remarkable.

But 112 of those goals came in 135 games prior to this season. That's right, the Argentinian has found the back of the net just once in Europe this season, and his La Liga record - while enviable to any mere mortal, with eight goals in as many games - is not as earth-shattering as one has become accustomed to from the six-time, current World Footballer of the Year. Indeed, it's only two more than BVB top scorer and captain Reus.