The Champions League is back and the last 16 has thrown up some really exciting ties to determine who will make it into the quarter-finals.
In one of the more open ended ties pulled out of the hat, the 2020 Europa League winners Sevilla take on the free-flowing attacking German giants Borussia Dortmund.
Sevilla currently sit in fourth place in La Liga, nine points off the top of the table behind Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Julen Lopetegui’s side have established a fantastic style of football, playing fast-paced possession football where domestically they score twice as many goals as they concede.
Dortmund on the other hand have been a hot and cold side this season, which saw them dismiss former boss Lucien Favre back in December. Edin Terzic was placed in charge for the rest of the season and it was recently announced that they will permanently hire Marco Rose at the end of the season after he revealed he’d be activating the break clause in his Borussia Moenchengladbach contract.
Individually the Dortmund side have still got incredible talent, with the likes of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho finding great form in recent months while Jude Bellingham has settled in well in midfield. There have been injuries throughout the season, especially defensively and their current form has seen them win just twice in their last six games.
It’s almost guaranteed to be a tie that will see both sides attacking and looking to implement their own style on each game to give themselves the best chance of winning.
The Sevilla side is probably better placed to do that, with a permanent coach in place who has worked his ideas onto the squad for the best part of two years now. Central defender Jules Kounde has found himself being linked to all the top sides in Europe following his brilliant performances, while the attacking players such as Youssef En-Nesyri and January signing Papau Gomez will be keen to impress on the big stage once again.
Dortmund can score goals, nothing has changed there, but defensively they are incredibly suspect. There is a huge lack of pace in their back line which Sevilla will be keen to expose but also just a genuine lack of quality and leadership in defensive situations.
This comes down to individual quality (Dortmund) against organisation and teamwork (Sevilla). Normally, I’d back the quality when the gap is so wide but it’s hard to judge when the gap isn’t.
Overall, I think we get a shock in this tie. It should be a high scoring tie, and I think both teams will be able to score goals and win their respective home tie but Sevilla’s superior defence should see them come out on top overall.
Sevilla 2-1 Dortmund
Dortmund 3-2 Sevilla
(4-4 on aggregate, Sevilla to progress on away goals)