Champions League team guide: Borussia Dortmund in the spotlight
A 4-2 loss to Bayern Munich in March left Borussia Dortmund sitting in sixth place in the Bundesliga, four points off of the Champions League spots.
But a remarkable run of eight wins from their next 10 games saw them finish in third position, just a point behind runners-up RB Leipzig.
The key turning point in that run was a home clash with RB Leipzig, when the hosts had squandered a 2-0 lead — allowing Dani Olmo to equalise with 15 minutes left to play.
Thankfully for Dortmund, the comeback proved to be in vain as Jadon Sancho scored the winner with three minutes left on the clock.
That victory coincided with Eintracht Frankfurt drawing against Mainz, with BVB replacing them in the top four.
Borussia Dortmund's Champions League group
Group C: Sporting Lisbon, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Besiktas
Dortmund stunned the world in 1997 when they beat a star-studded Juventus side — including the likes of Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane, Christian Vieri and Alessandro Del Piero — to claim their first and only Champions League trophy.
Karl-Heinz Riedle netted twice, while Dortmund-born Lars Ricken came off the bench to effectively end the tie just six minutes after Del Piero had halved the deficit.
BVB reached the final again in 2013 under Jurgen Klopp but lost to rivals Bayern, with Arjen Robben scoring a last-minute winner.
The club’s only other success in Europe was back in 1966 when they lifted the European Cup Winners' Cup after beating Liverpool 2-1 in extra-time.
Dortmund are a match for any team on their day but this is likely to be a transitional campaign for the side from North Rhine-Westphalia.
Sancho was sold in the summer and Marco Rose was appointed as the new manager, so it will take some time for him to instil his stylistic approach at the Westfalenstadion.
As evidenced by their early season Bundesliga form, one week they look sensational, the next week they can struggle to get going.
Dortmund should escape a favourable group but whether they have the consistency to progress to the competition’s latter stages is another matter entirely.
Star man: Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland is a goalscoring phenomenon — if Dortmund are going to have an impact in Europe this season, he is likely to be the man responsible.
The 21-year-old has started the 2021-22 campaign in fine form, involving himself in eight goals across just four outings in all competitions.
The Norway international scored ten times in eight appearances in last year’s Champions League, including a run of four consecutive braces, as BVB made it all the way to the quarter-finals.
One to watch: Giovanni Reyna
Dortmund spent big money on Donyell Malen but opted to give the vacant No7 shirt to Giovanni Reyna.
The 18-year-old racked up 45 appearances last season across all competitions, in what was his first full campaign with the first team.
The versatile midfielder looks set to be a key part of manager Rose’s plans this term, appearing in all of the matches played so far.
Reyna is a creative maestro who ranks particularly well for expected assists (0.21 per 90) and progressive carries (7.79 per 90), when compared with attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the last year.
The boss: Marco Rose
Rose is relatively inexperienced in the Champions League but he did mastermind Borussia Monchengladbach’s escape from Group B last season.
That group contained Real Madrid, Inter and Shakhtar Donetsk but Die Fohlen hit the latter for 10 goals across two games and picked up draws against the other two European giants.
The 44-year-old German cut his teeth with Red Bull Salzburg and impressed in Austria, before arriving at Borussia-Park.
Monchengladbach’s free-flowing style caught the attention of the masses and he was hired by Dortmund to restore some Jurgen Klopp-style pressing to proceedings at the Westfalenstadion.
All information correct as of 10am, September 3, 2021