The Champions League rolls on with two more matches to conclude this week’s slate of UCL matches before the other half of the first legs in the round of 16 commence next Tuesday and Wednesday. One series that is highly anticipated is a battle between Borussia Dortmund and the defending Europa League champions in Sevilla.
Sevilla comes into the first leg on a nine-match winning streak across all competitions. They are consistently a formidable squad with a solid foundation across the entire pitch. Aside from their well-documented Europa League success, they have had recent UCL success as in 2018, Sevilla defeated Manchester United 2-1 on aggregate in the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals before losing to Bayern Munich 2-1. Sevilla sit fourth in the La Liga table and advanced their way into the round of 16 after winning four of their six Group E matches, finishing one point behind Chelsea. This past September, former midfield stalwart Ivan Rakitic returned to Sevilla and has bolstered the midfield for Sevilla, even scoring to help eliminate Barcelona in the Copa de Ray semifinals. Also, former Atalanta striker Papu Gomez has joined the club during the winter transfer window, scoring on his debut against Getafe. Leading the way for Sevilla on the scoresheet is Youssef En-Nesyri, who has 13 goals this season. Sevilla has conceded the second-fewest goals in La Liga behind the leaders in Atletico Madrid and will look to shut down the lethal attack of Borussia Dortmund.
For the fourth time in the past five UCL campaigns, Dortmund finds themselves in the knockout round after winning Group F with 13 points. This season, they look to make it past the round of 16 for the first time since 2017. Dortmund has an electric attack, headlined by the dynamic young phenom in Erling Haaland, who has 15 goals this season. Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro have been key playmaker for the club with seven and eight assists respectively. Dortmund is third in the Bundesliga in goals scored, however they are only eighth in goals conceded with 31, resulting in their sixth-place standing in the Bundesliga table.
Dortmund has had major consistency issues in defending and against a well-rounded and well-coached Sevilla squad, that will spell doom for Dortmund’s UCL hopes. Gomez will break out with a strong performance this series and the backline will hold Dortmund in check and will advance to the quarterfinals for the second time in the last four years.
Aggregate prediction: Sevilla 4 Dortmund 2