While the chances of progressing are unlikely, Borussia Dortmund desperately need a feel-good result after a red October. The chance to beat APOEL – having failed to do so away from home the last time out in the Champions League – is one Peter Bosz’s side must take convincingly.
Recent performances have left many questions about Dortmund’s defense, with concerns peaking against Hannover on the weekend.
Read more: BVB’s defensive woes continue
With one point from three games, even a win for Dortmund still leaves them with a mountainous task if they’re to qualify for the knockout rounds. Europa League qualification looks far more likely, but first they must beat APOEL at home.
Bosz and his side must prove they can be the ones to exploit the space going forward, and that they can defend the long ball played in between the defense and the midfield. BVB Sporting Director Michael Zorc has demanded a reaction after a performance in Hanover he called “sluggish and complacent”.
Given that Dortmund also host Bayern on the weekend, Bosz will have to decide which team he wants to play. Recent Bundesliga form – two defeats and a draw in the last three games – have left them three points adrift of Bayern. Defeat on Saturday would certainly make a title challenge all that more difficult.
RB Leipzig still believe
Having most recently beaten Porto 3-2 in a thrilling Champions League home game, RB Leipzig know that a similar result in Portugal would put them in a commanding position to make the knockout rounds.
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side currently sits in second place with four points, one ahead of Porto and five behind the impressive Besiktas. At short notice, the club changed their plans, choosing to have their final training session in Leipzig rather than in the evening in the Dragao stadium in Porto.
After a week of two red cards in two defeats to Bayern, RB Leipzig are keen to show they’re both disciplined and good enough to be amongst Europe’s elite come 2018.
Naby Keita was part of the team’s final training session on despite having picked up a bruised shin in Munich on the weekend. Defender Stefan Ilsanker was the only player not involved, as he struggles with a toe injury.