Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt (l.) hopes the win over VfB Stuttgart will spur his side on in the UEFA Champions League against Sporting on Wednesday. - © IMAGO / Moritz Müller
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt (l.) hopes the win over VfB Stuttgart will spur his side on in the UEFA Champions League against Sporting on Wednesday. - © IMAGO / Moritz Müller
bundesliga

Julian Brandt on Borussia Dortmund-Sporting Lisbon: "We have a great chance"

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt feels their weekend win over VfB Stuttgart can help them get another positive result against Sporting Lisbon in the UEFA Champions League.

Dortmund are now only one point behind Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga after a late Marco Reus goal gave them a 2-1 home success against Stuttgart on Saturday.

Next they take on Sporting in Portugal on Wednesday, knowing that another victory in Group C would seal progress to the knockout stage of this season's Champions League.

"It's an opportunity for us, and I think that we can go there with a lot of self-confidence," Brandt said ahead of Dortmund's trip to face the Portuguese champions.

Watch: Highlighs of Dortmund's 2-1 win over Stuttgart

Dortmund and Sporting both have six points from four Group C matches so far, so a win for either side would let them join group leaders Ajax in the round of 16. Ahead of a crunch game in Europe, though, Brandt thinks that an 85th-minute strike from Reus against Stuttgart was just the tonic the 1997 European champions needed.

"It was definitely intense but I don't have the feeling that everyone's out on their feet and will be running on empty against Sporting," Brandt said after Dortmund made it nine wins from 12 games in the Bundesliga. "Fortunately we're not playing in Lisbon until Wednesday rather than Tuesday.

"And a win like the one against Stuttgart does you good before a game like this. We'll take that with us, and on Wednesday we have a great chance to make things more or less clear [in the group] against Sporting."

Brandt agreed that the game against Stuttgart had been an emotional rollercoaster, but pointed out that picking up three points was all the more important in the wake of Bayern's surprise defeat at Augsburg.

“When you win a game like that in the end, it doesn't feel too bad," the 25-year-old Germany international explained.

"In the second half Stuttgart came more into it, in the first half we were on top. There were chances for both sides but in the end what matters is that you win the game - especially after Bayern lost the day before."

The continued absence of injured star striker Erling Haaland is challenging for Dortmund, however, and Brandt admitted that there is still room for improvement.

"The opponents in the last few weeks have been sitting very deep," said the former Bayer Leverkusen player, who has two goals and one assist in the league this term. "We've been finding it hard to create really good chances. We have a lot of ball around the opponent's penalty area and we've had half-chances here and there. But there wasn't really anything where you say you have a one-on-one chance against the goalkeeper.

"Of course you can discuss whether Erling Haaland brings that to the game. He certainly does, but with the players we currently have available we have to be even more determined to create chances without him. And we have to put even more pressure on when we have the ball, which we have had a lot of."

Borussia Dortmund are currently without Erling Haaland (l.) but Julian Brandt (r.) is confident they can keep improving until the Norwegian returns from injury. - TEAM2sportphoto via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Team 2

Dortmund will nonetheless travel to Lisbon on a high after making it seven wins from seven at home in this season's Bundesliga.

Their fans certainly enjoyed the victory over Stuttgart, indicating - through their song selection - that they're confident their side can dethrone Bayern as German champions.

Dortmund host Bayern on 4 December in what's set to be a crucial top-of-the-table clash. While keen to stress that Sporting are the focus for now, Brandt acknowledges that the BVB support is giving the team plenty of motivation ahead of the Klassiker.

"It's great that the fans can celebrate such wins and our position in the table," he said. "And in two weeks they'll hopefully see a top game [against Bayern] in Dortmund. That's why fans go to the stadium. Not only to support your team, but also to see exciting football and top-class games at the highest level.

Watch: Brandt got the winner against Augsburg in October

"We have one more game in the league in Wolfsburg before we play Bayern. So we have to first of all do everything we can to make sure that we remain in a good position. But the fans have already shown their anticipation, and I see that as a positive."