Last season’s UEFA Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund are in danger of being bundled out at the very first hurdle of this season’s competition and must beat Napoli on Tuesday night to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
The German outfit are coming off a morale-sapping 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, a result which left them seven points behind the Bavarians, and will be hoping for better fortunes in Europe when they welcome Napoli in the penultimate round of the group stage.
Dortmund however have not found it easy going in Europe, and their six points from four games means that they are in an unprecedented third place, three behind joint leaders Arsenal and Napoli, with just two games to go.
Simply put, Dortmund need to win their remaining group games to secure safe passage into the knockout phase, and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller has said his side need to show more determination and urgency to finish off matches.
“We are lacking in determination, a sense of purpose. We take too long to finish off a move. We pass it across instead of going straight for goal.”
He was however quick to add that there still is all to play for both domestically and in Europe, and he insists home form will be key as they bid to turn their fortunes around.
“Nothing has been decided yet, neither in the league nor in Europe. But Tuesday’s game is more critical than against Bayern. We have to win at home and we need to use our chances because games are won by scoring goals.”
Manager Jurgen Klopp will have to make do without crocked defenders Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Marcel Schmelzer, and Manuel Friedrich is ineligible for European competition as well.
The return of right-back Lukasz Piszczek could not come at a more opportune time for BVB however, and they will hope to inflict a third successive defeat on a Napoli side struggling for form after suffering back-to-back defeats in the Serie A.
Napoli boss Rafa Benitez has bemoaned the international break following his side’s 1-0 defeat at home to Parma, which he said left him with little time to prepare his side for the game on Saturday.
This disappointing defeat followed a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Serie A defending champions Juventus, and their chances of ending their goal-less drought took a massive blow when forward Marek Hamsik limped off ten minutes after coming on in the second half against Parma with a foot injury and will subsequently miss Tuesday’s match.
Benitez was quick to shift focus from his domestic woes to their European exploits, saying:
“I wasn’t surprised by Borussia’s defeat to Bayern. I was more concerned with our result than Borussia’s. We are already concentrating on the next match.”
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