Kagawa’s Dortmund Fights with Benfica What Will Affect the Results
Benfica, champions of the Portuguese League for the past three years, are sitting in the top spot again this season.
Now they are preparing to face off against Borussia Dortmund who has been struggling in the Bundesliga as of late.
The famous German club currently sits at fourth place in the league, has a lot of injuries as per usual, and their spot in the ranks looks unstable.
Tuchel is famous for continually changing his starting squad and formation, but this year his aggressive style might be having some negative effects.
Just before the CL match, they lost against the lowest ranked club in the Bundesliga, and they started to get a bit of a bad reputation for this season.
They will be heading into this first leg in poor form, as well as with low morale.
Struggling powerhouse Dortmund will fight against top Portuguese Benfica in Benfica’s home ground.
Opening match in the CL first leg, who is going to win this battle.
Benfica’s most recent turn in the CL was last year’s battle against Bundesliga club Bayern.
Even though Jonas was out with a match ban, they were able to pressure Guardiola’s Bayern. [Current Manchester City manager.]
A huge gap was shown between each squad’s quality of player, but with their tactics Benfica matched well against the German club.
They were able to lead Bayern’s attackers where they pleased and broke up Bayern’s formation.
They made the players compete for high balls, especially Thiago who is not a strong physical player.
Vitoria implemented this strategy really well against Bayern, and they were able to score the first goal on the counter attack.
At one point in the game Benfica was ahead 1-0.
On the other hand, Dortmund is faring better in the CL than in other competitions this year.
In the group stage, they finished first in their group, ahead of even Real Madrid.
As a result they could pull a nice draw, against a team that doesn’t look so intimidating.
It is a little sad to watch Kagawa spending so much time on the bench this season, but it can’t be helped with Dortmund having so many talented players this season.
Not only Kagawa, but Goetze and Schurrle, all members of their respective National squads have been warming the bench this year.
It is hard to become a starting member with superstars like Aubameyang and midfielder Guerreiro.
With such a deep squad, fans are curious about who the starting 11 will feature against Benfica.
With the first leg at Benfica’s home ground, Dortmund are expected to come out of the gate cautious.
The first leg in the tournament has a unique atmosphere, and it is very difficult to win as an away team.
Tuchel however, hates the opposing team getting on the score sheet before his squad, so he will most likely gradually start using side-attacks built upon his 3 center back foundation.
They will try to gain the advantage switching from side attacks to back attacks, a strategy they used to win against Bayern.
Benfica should be able to handle this strategy calmly however, and they shouldn’t break their defense from interference of the side attacks.
If they could avoid Dortmund’s attack by cooperatively blocking, they should definitely have a chance.
Tuchel’s strategy mentioned above is strong, but using only three backs leaves more gaps on defense behind the attack.
If Benfica can realize this, and counter well they should have great opportunities to score.
Tuchel’s formation has been called out for it’s weakness to counters in the past. If Dortmund can’t get the first goal, the game will probably start moving at Benfica’s pace.
Now let’s look at the odds.
People are saying there is a big gap in power between those two, but if you only think of the first leg, Benfica having home field advantage makes the odds look pretty equal.
When you look at this first leg only, Benfica has a high possibility of winning.
If Benfica can’t get this first leg victory on their home ground, it really looks like it will become difficult to move up to the best eight.
Benfica does seem to have the ability to finish off their chances this year, but they give up goals on counters at the same time.
Since Tuchel became Dortmund’s manager, they have tried several formations to fill out their own holes. There is still some doubt if they can keep Benfica’s forwards locked down in the CL first leg.
Also if Benfica does give up away goals against Dortmund this can put them in a bad position for the second leg.
Either way the team who wins this first leg, will be in a great position to move up to the best eight for sure!