Thomas Tuchel takes his UEFA Champions League bow when Borussia Dortmund visit Legia Warszawa on Wednesday. - © © imago
Thomas Tuchel takes his UEFA Champions League bow when Borussia Dortmund visit Legia Warszawa on Wednesday. - © © imago

Tuchel's revamped Dortmund ready to rock in the Champions League

After a one-year absence, Borussia Dortmund make their return to the UEFA Champions League circuit with a trip to Legia Warszawa's Stadion Wojska Polskiego on Wednesday (kick-off: 20:45CEST/18:45GMT).

Much has changed at BVB since the Ruhr district outfit exited the 2014/15 edition of the competition to Juventus in the Round of 16 some 18 months ago, but there can be little doubt Die Schwarz-Gelben remain a force to be reckoned with in Group F and beyond. They have a habit of rising to the occasion in European football's elite club competition, after all.

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'One of the best teams in Europe'

Winners in 1997, BVB blew the field away en route to contesting the first ever all-Bundesliga Champions League final with FC Bayern München in 2012/13. Jürgen Klopp's all-action charges were narrowly beaten 2-1 at Wembley Stadium on the day, but their performance is one reason why they are still held in utmost regard across the continent to this day.

"Dortmund are one of the best teams in Europe, they're definitely better than Legia, but you never know what will happen in football," said Legia head coach Besnik Hasi at his pre-match press conference. "I had the opportunity to coach against BVB two years ago with Anderlecht. It was a tough game for us. We were not able to get out of our own half in the first 30 minutes, they pinned us back in defence. So I know how difficult it is to play against them."

Watch: The Borussia Dortmund success story:

New-look BVB

The layers of refinement put into practice by current head coach Thomas Tuchel following Klopp's decision to leave BVB at the end of 2014/15 will not make Legia's task any easier. Less rushed, more measured and with a hint of tiki-taka inspiration, Dortmund finished as the Bundesliga's best ever runners-up last term, with a points total that would have delivered the title in all but four of the previous 52 Bundesliga campaigns.

Although the spine of that team - Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gündogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan - have since moved on to pastures new, the acquisition of the likes of Germany international Andre Schürrle, French starlet Ousmane Dembele and two-time Champions League winner Marc Bartra has ensured standards have not suffered.

Watch: Get to know Dortmund's summer 2016 signings:

Tuchel's 'special moment'

"We're full of confidence - it's the Champions League and we need to make a good start because we've got Real Madrid coming up next," affirmed former Bayern midfielder Sebastian Rode. The 25-year-old is one of eight new faces to have joined BVB in the summer, half of whom already boast prior Champions League experience. For Tuchel, however, the competition represents a welcome step into the unknown.

"When I hear the Champions League anthem for the first time and stand on the touchline it'll definitely be a special moment for me - a real gift," admitted the Champions League greenhorn. "There are certain things we need to improve, but we need games and stress situations like [in the Champions League]. We're all really excited."

Christopher Mayer-Lodge