Dortmund (AP) – For Borussia Dortmund, the second preliminary round match in the Champions League will be a final.
After the big false start a week ago in Lazio (1: 3), the third Bundesliga, which is actually classified as a group favorite, is under great pressure against Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday (9 p.m. / Sky). The difficult starting position prompted sports director Michael Zorc to make an unmistakable statement to the pros: “We cannot afford to make a mistake and have to win.”
The convincing performance against FC Schalke 04 (3-0) last Saturday could serve as a blueprint. However, coach Lucien Favre’s team tends to be careless, especially after better performances with alarming regularity. “We talk about it, we know it, but we can’t solve it,” said defense chief Mats Hummels, “hard work every day on the field is what we still need to be one of the absolute top teams. got better. “
Fearing a similar setback as in Rome, where the team was hugely disappointed, especially in the first half, licensed player boss Sebastian Kehl, alongside Zorc, warned not to interpret the derby victory as an indication of an already successful turnaround: We must remain greedy. Game does not help us. “
There are many indications that Favre will play with a back-four, just like in the game against Schalke, who actually replaced BVB with a back-three in February. According to Zorc, the noticeable progress in checking into the Revier derby had less to do with this change than with the attitude of the professionals.
In any case, the sports director doesn’t like questions about this topic. At BVB, this system change is “made a state law”, he complained in the “Kicker”. “We allowed very little against Schalke because there was really pressure in the midfield. We won a lot of the ball because of that. That was okay.”
With similar tactics, the Russians must be pressured from the start and victory must be enforced. It is entirely possible that Favre is relying on new strength. Marco Reus (77th minute) and Axel Witsel (71st), who were substituted shortly before time against Schalke, and Thorgan Hazard, who had recovered from a muscle fracture, were able to make the starting line-up. On the other hand, there should be no further rotation in the goalkeeper position. Following Favre’s hotly debated move to temporarily replace de facto goalkeeper Roman Bürki with Marwin Hitz, Bürki now appears to be the first choice again.
The double winner from Russia, who lost his first group match against Club Brugge after a goal in injury time by 1: 2, is not an international heavyweight at the moment. After all, coach Sergei Semak’s team has only won two of the last ten Champions League matches and is already waiting for a victory in twelve European away matches. However, the Russians won 2-1 in their last appearance in Dortmund. And yet BVB advanced to the next round of the premier league round of 16 of the 2013/14 season after a 4-2 in the first leg.