Two big teams from two major European football associations – German giants Borussia Dortmund and Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon – clash swords in their UEFA Champions League 2016-17 group game on Wednesday in Ruhr, Germany.
Neither side have had a good start to their domestic season this time around but they are slowly trying for racing to the top. While Sporting are currently fourth in the Portuguese league, with 18 points accumulated from nine games, Dortmund are sixth in the Bundesliga with 15 points managed from nine games.
In the UEFA Champions League this season, meanwhile, only one team has prevailed over the other from the Group F of the competition and that is Borussia Dortmund. Like Real Madrid, they are undefeated so far and a win over Sporting assures them a knockout berth. Real, too, will join Dortmund in the round of 16, if they beat Legia Warsaw in their other group game of the evening.
Mario Gotze, an experienced Champions League customer, has however given out a word of caution. "It's not going to be easy against Sporting," the Borussia Dortmund midfielder said. "They are dangerous opponents as we saw in Lisbon, but we're playing at home, that's a great advantage, and we want the points."
The amazing trio of Götze, Andre Schürrle and Aubameyang are set for action but the absence of Marco Reus, owing to a groin injury, could take away that brilliant attacking sheen from the German side. For Sporting, experienced goalkeeper Rui Patricio has got to bring out his A game to stop the Dortmund attack.
"The problem is that we are up against a top side, one of the best in the competition and very strong in attack," mentioned Jorge Jesus, head coach of Sporting Lisbon. "Nevertheless, as a team we are very well organised and compact."
Expected starting XI
Dortmund: Bürki; Ginter, Papastathopoulos, Bartra, Guerreiro; Weigl; Dembélé, Castro, Götze, Schürrle; Aubameyang.
Sporting: Rui Patrício; Zeegelaar, Coates, Rúben Semedo, Schelotto; William Carvalho, Elías, Bruno César; Bryan Ruiz, Gelson Martins, Dost.
Borussia Dortmund vs Sporting Lisbon is scheduled to kick off at 1:15 a.m. IST [Thursday] (8:45 p.m. BST, 3:45 p.m. EST) on November 2.
Where to watch live
India: TV: Ten 1 HD. Live streaming: ten sports live.
UK: TV: BT Sport. Live streaming: BT Sport live.
USA: TV: Fox Sports 2. Live streaming: Fox Sports Go.
Germany: TV: Sky Sport 3/HD, Sky Sport 1 HD. Live streaming: Sky Go Deutschland.
Portugal: TV: Sport TV1.