Borussia Dortmund – Atlético Madrid: Dortmund surprisingly crush Atlético thanks to dominant play from wings (4-0)
It turns out Borussia Dortmund can score just fine without their scorching hot striker, Paco Alcácer. Lucien Favre’s decision to start Marco Reus as a defensive number ten behind Mario Götze disrupted Atletico’s buildup. Dortmund’s wing speed more than negated Diego Simeone’s fullback tactics, as Achraf Hakimi put in a man of the match performance with three assists.
Although both Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten in their last six league games, the two sides came into Wednesday’s crucial Group A match with mixed emotions.
Dortmund have been flying high in the Bundesliga with a 23-7 goal difference in their last six matches and sit at the top of the table. Sure, Paco Alcácer’s seven goals in only 127 league minutes and Jadon Sancho’s six assists in 307 minutes have grabbed the headlines, but Dortmund’s strength lies in numbers: Borussia have already had 14 different goalscorers in the Bundesliga.
Lucien Favre could not count on the injured Marcel Schmelzer and Manuel Akanji, while the talismanic Alcácer could not recover from a muscle injury. Dortmund thus started with only two changes from last weekend’s 4-0 win over Stuttgart, with Christian Pulisic coming in for Sancho and Mario Götze getting the nod as Alácer’s replacement. Lucien Favre’s side has been getting accolades for its offensive output, but Dortmund have only allowed a league-best eight goals in the Bundesliga and kept a clean sheet in both Champions League matches so far.
Atlético are just two points off leaders Barcelona in a very tight LaLiga table, but have scored just eight goals in their last six games. The main reason why they are very much in contention is their defense . . .