The first round of knockouts from the Champions League sees the reigning German champions, Borussia Dortmund, travel to Donetsk to play the reigning (perennial…) Ukrainian Champions Shaktar Donetsk, in a tie that has been overshadowed by Real vs Man U, but promises to be an absolute cracker in its own right.
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You know when people get irrationally annoyed with you because you like the same thing they do, but they were there ‘first’, before it was cool to like a particular band/film/whatever, and therefore you’ve tainted it for them? That’s what I feel like with Dortmund. I started supporting them in 1996 when I idolised the obscure Swiss footballing legend Stephané Chapuisat, and I watched them whoop Juventus is the European Cup Final. Since then, I’ve stuck by them through near on bankruptcy – they had to borrow money from Bayern Munich to stay afloat – can you imagine Man City borrowing money from United? – and when everyone decided to support St Pauli a few years ago (oooh, they’re like anarchist pirates, how bohemian…) I was still a BVB’er. Now every faux football intellectual is name-dropping Götze and Klopp and how wonderful the Westfalenstadion is. Bunch of bandwagon jumping b*stards.
Dortmund’s club-de-jour status draws many parallels with Manchester City’s current status. Both reigning domestic champions, both are sitting second in the league a long, long way back from their great rivals, the established order, whom are running away with the league. Both display a ridiculous amount of attacking talent, and can destroy teams on their day, but both teams are liable to fall apart for no reason whatsoever (for Man City’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Southampton read Dortmund losing 4-1 at home against Hamburg over the weekend…)
Dortmund may have won the ‘Group of Champions’ against the likes of Real and Man City, but they will find this trip to Shaktar tough. Shaktar were exceptional in the group stages, thrashing Chelsea, and outplaying both Juventus and Chelsea away from home for long periods. Dortmund may be unbeaten in the Champions League this season, but have only won one of their last six away from home in Europe. The smart money is on a draw, and probably a high scoring one at that – instead of backing the straight draw @ 53/21, back a score draw at 3/1 with Ladbrokes. It almost goes without saying that both teams to score @ 7/10 with Blue Square will come in, and it’s definitely worth putting on any goals galore coupon you are thinking of putting on. I fancy a 2-2 draw myself, available at 15/1 with BetVictor.
In terms of whom is going to score the goals, I’m afraid you’re on your own, as there is quite frankly too much to choose at pretty poor odds throughout. For Dortmund, Lewandowski has netted in his last six games in a row, whereas Marco Reus has scored in all three of Dortmund’s away games in the Champions League this season. Shaktar’s Luiz Adriano has had three shots on target in the Champions League, and scored every one of them. Shaktar have also offset the loss of Willian for €35m to Anzi by bringing in the sought after striker Taison, a long time Chelsea target. If I had to bet on a scorer I’d got for Lewandowski anytime @ 15/8 with Stan James, but I’d probably include it as some part of lucky15 as opposed to any sort of outright bet.
Short Odds: Both Teams to score @ 7/10 (Blue Square)
Medium Odds: Score Draw @ 3/1 (Ladbrokes)
Long Odds: Correct Score 2-2 @ 15/1 (Bet Victor)
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