Sevilla meet Borussia Dortmund at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 match-up. Mark O'Haire shares his views.
"Sevilla took time to find their stride in 2020/21 but Julen Lopetegui’s men are looking rock-solid ahead of Wednesday’s first leg tie"
Sevilla v Borussia Dortmund
Wednesday February 17, 20:00
Sevilla extend winning streak
Sevilla made it eight wins on the spin on Saturday as Los Nervionenses overcame rock-bottom Huesca 1-0 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Victory consolidated Julen Lopetegui's side inside La Liga's top-four and came hot on the heels of an eye-catching 2-0 dismantling of Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final last midweek.
The weekend success was the seventh consecutive Sevilla triumph without conceding a goal. You now have to go back to 19th January for the last time the Andalusian capital club were breached with Moroccan goalkeeper Bono making numerous fine saves to preserve that impressive Los Nervionenses record in recent weeks.
Sevilla will be without playmaker Lucas Ocampos and left-back Marcos Acuna for their first leg tie with Dortmund on Wednesday, while Jesus Navas is considered a major doubt. January signing Papu Gomez is expected to take-up the left-sided attacking role in Lopetegui's preferred 4-3-3 system with Suso on the right and Youssef El Nesyri up top.
Dortmund in disarray
Dortmund interim head coach Edin Terzic is under increasing pressure after a 2-2 draw at home to Hoffenheim extended Die Schwarzgelben's dismal recent run. BVB boast a tally of just five points from their past six Bundesliga games (W1-D2-L3) to slide to sixth in the league standings, a full six points adrift of the crucial Champions League qualifying places.
The club's management team were confident things would turn around sooner than later yet another error-laden performance from Dortmund was only rescued by Erling Haaland's late equaliser. Once again, dismal defensive displays by Mats Hummels, Manuel Akanji, Emre Can and stand-in goalkeeper Marwin Hitz thwarted any potential BVB progress.
Post-match Terzic accepted that the number of individual errors was a concern, while the ease with which Hoffenheim cut through the Dortmund rearguard will also prove worrisome ahead of the trip to Seville. Thomas Meunier, Thorgan Hazard, Lukasz Piszczek, Axel Witsel,Dan-Axel Zagadou and Roman Burki are all unavailable, limiting the visitors' options.
Sevilla and Dortmund's only previous meeting in European competition came in the 2010/11 Europa League group stages. The Spaniards were 1-0 winners in Germany before a 2-2 draw at the Sanchez-Pizjuan; Los Nervionenses have actually only suffered a solitary reverse in 12 previous matches when hosting Bundesliga opposition (W7-D4-L1).
Sevilla 2.407/5 took time to find their stride in 2020/21 but Julen Lopetegui's men are looking rock-solid ahead of Wednesday's first leg tie.
The hosts have returned W20-D3-L3 over their past 26 outings since November - defeats arriving against Chelsea, Real Madrid and Atletico - with 12 triumphs earned from 16 home fixtures across all competitions this season.
Dortmund 3.259/4 arrive having lost seven of 10 winless recent trips to Spanish clubs in the Champions League and Die Schwarzgelben have been beaten in each of their past six away days in the knockout stages of this competition by an aggregate 2-14. With the visitors appearing rudderless and directionless, supporting a home success is an appealing play.
First leg knockout ties across any competition traditionally tend to be tight affairs and Sevilla's supreme defensive record over the past month suggests Wednesday night's match-up could prove to be a low-scoring affair. Nevertheless, Under 2.5 Goals is trading at 1.991/1 with Dortmund's aforementioned woes - plus attacking arsenal - pushing the price up.
None of Sevilla's home meetings with Big Three rivals in La Liga have produced more than two goals during Julen Lopetegui's reign and I'm happy to oppose a high-scoring contest considering what's at stake. With that in mind, taking a home Sevilla triumph alongside Under 3.5 Goals appears our best angle of attack at 2.91 on the Same Game Multi.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 98.00 pts
Returned: 104.60 pts