By 90Min
September 17, 2018

The opening round of fixtures in the Champions League's Group A kicks off on Tuesday evening, when Club Brugge host Borussia Dortmund at the Jan Breydelstadion. 

Champions League stalwarts Atletico Madrid and Monaco make up the rest of Group A, making this a must-win game for Dortmund, who will surely see their games against Club Brugge as opportunities to get six points.  

The game represents Club Brugge's first appearance in the Champions League group stages since the 2016/17 season.

Dortmund themselves failed to make it out the group stages in last season's Champions League, finishing third in Group H behind Spurs and Real Madrid. The German side will be hoping for a better showing this season, and need to start positively when they face Club Brugge. 

Here's all you need to know ahead of Tuesday's match. 



Classic Encounter


Dortmund 3-3 (on aggregate) Club Brugge (Champions League Third Qualifying Round 2003)


These two sides met over two legs in the 2003/04 Champions League third qualifying round in two games that held consequences both on and off the pitch for Dortmund. Not only was group stage qualification on the line for the German side, but a failure to qualify would threaten the club's financial future. 

Club Brugge KV v Borussia Dortmund - Friendly Match

The first leg played out at the Jan Breydelstadion, with Club Brugge winning 2-1 on the night - Dortmund left with a crucial away goal. In the second leg, Dortmund scored after three minutes, putting them in position to qualify for the group stages. Later in the first half, however, Club Brugge equalised, swinging the tie back in their favour. 

In the dying minutes of the game, Ewerthon scored to make it 2-1, the goal Dortmund desperately needed. The game went to extra time with the aggregate tied at 3-3. Club Brugge's David Rozehnal was sent off in the second half of extra time, but the Belgians held on long enough to force the game to penalties. 


Dortmund's sporting director Michael Meier and President Gerd Niebaum watched on from the stands as Club Brugge won on penalties and let loose Dortmund's Champions League financial lifeline. If it wasn't for the actions back then of Dortmund's now CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, the club would have certainly fallen into bankruptcy after their 2003/04 season's failure to qualify for the Champions League group stages. 


 Key Battle


Kaveh Rezaei vs. Manuel Akanji


Kaveh Rezaei has scored four goals in seven games so far in this season's Belgian Jupiler League. The Iranian striker scored three of those goals for Sporting Charleroi before Club Brugge signed him on a four-year contract. 

Club Brugge v RSC Anderlecht - Jupiler Pro League

Rezaei is one of Club Brugge's biggest goal threats. It's up to Manuel Akanji, alongside his centre-back partner Abdou Diallo, to keep Rezaei quiet.


Team News


Club Brugge's summer signing Clinton Mata is still recovering from the groin surgery he underwent in July, and so the right back has no chance of playing on Tuesday. There are no fresh injury concerns for Club Brugge manager Ivan Leko. 

Disappointingly for Dortmund, Paco Alcacer is set to miss the game due to a muscle problem he picked up in the 3-1 win against Eintracht Frankfurt; a game in which he scored his first goal for Dortmund. Furthermore, Omer Toprak, Raphael Guerreiro and Christian Pulisic are all still out injured.


Potential Club Brugge Lineup: Letica; Poulain, Mitrovic, Denswil; Bonaventure, Vormer, Vanaken, Rits, Groeneveld; Wesley, Rezaei. 


Potential Dortmund Lineup: Burki; Piszczek, Diallo, Akanji, Schmelzer; Wolf, Dahoud, Witsel, Reus, Sancho; Phillip. 


Prediction

Club Brugge are without a win in their last 10 Champions League games (L9, D1), and that record will inspire no confidence ahead of their match against Dortmund. The reigning Belgian Jupiler League champions currently sit top of their league, but Dortmund should have too much quality for Club Brugge.

Dortmund know this is a game they need to win ahead of facing tougher opponents Atletico Madrid and Monaco in the coming games in Group A, and so they have extra incentive to push for a win against Club Brugge.


Predicted score: Club Brugge 1-3 Dortmund

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