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Preview: Besiktas vs. Borussia Dortmund - prediction, team news, lineups
15/09/2021 11:26:12

In the first round of Champions League group fixtures, Borussia Dortmund will make the trip to Turkey to take on Besiktas on Wednesday (5:45PM, 15 Sept).

The hosts sit at the summit of the Turkish top flight after four domestic games and earned automatic qualification for Europe's elite competition by winning the Super Lig title last season, while the German outfit will look to build on last year's Champions League campaign, as they reached the quarter-finals.

Match preview

Besiktas earned qualification for this year's Champions League group stage after winning the Turkish Super Lig for the 16th time last season, collecting 80 points as they pipped Galatasaray based on having a slightly superior goal difference.

However, they did not enjoy a successful continental campaign, firstly being knocked out of Champions League qualification following a 3-1 defeat to Greek outfit Paok.

The Black Eagles then dropped into the final qualifying round for the Europa League, meeting Portuguese side Rio Ave, and they lost 5-3 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw, depriving the Turkish giants of any further European football for the remainder of the season.

They now return to Champions League action this year on the back of a strong start to the domestic season, collecting 10 points from their opening four games without conceding a goal, and they most recently picked up a 3-0 home win over Yeni Malatyaspor thanks to a Michy Batshuayi brace and a Georges-Kevin N'Koudou goal.

Sergen Yalcin's side will now look to build on their strong start with what would be a crucial result to kick off the Champions League group stage, although they face a tough test against Borussia Dortmund.

The visitors also earned automatic qualification for this year's tournament, as they finished third in the Bundesliga last season, while also enjoying a strong run in the Champions League.

Der BVB cruised through the group stage in impressive fashion, collecting 13 points from six games to finish top and book their spot in the round of 16.

The German side then met Sevilla in the first knockout round, and a Mahmoud Dahoud goal and an Erling Braut Haaland brace saw them take a narrow 3-2 lead into the second leg, before another Haaland double ensured they drew the second leg 2-2 and progressed with an aggregate victory.

They were handed a particularly tough quarter-final draw against Manchester City, and after a 2-1 away defeat, Jude Bellingham put them ahead in the home leg, only for Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden to get on the scoresheet and seal a 4-2 aggregate win for the Citizens, despite a valiant effort from Die Schwarzgelben.

Now under the management of former Borussia Monchengladbach boss Marco Rose, the Dortmund outfit have earned nine points from their first four league outings, most recently winning a dramatic clash 4-3 away at Bayer Leverkusen.

Goals from Florian Wirtz and Patrik Schick, either side of a Haaland finish, saw the hosts go into the break with a lead, and they retook that through Moussa Diaby after Julian Brandt's equaliser, only for the game to take another twist as Raphael Guerreiro drew Der BVB level and Haaland converted a penalty to fire his side to an eye-catching win.

They now head into the continental competition with the hopes of starting with a victory on their travels, with Rose's men setting their sights on another run deep into the tournament.

Team News

Besiktas come into Wednesday's game without attacker Alex Teixeira and experienced defender Domagoj Vida, after they were both forced off in the recent 3-0 victory over Yeni Malatyaspor, while Umut Meras and Ajdin Hasic will also remain on the sidelines.

Salih Ucan was suspended for that game, and he could come back into the starting XI to replace Teixeira.

Their line will be led by Michy Batshuayi, who enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at Borussia Dortmund in 2018, and hit a brace last time out.

Midfielder Miralem Pjanic recently arrived on loan from Barcelona, and the Bosnian offers vital experience and quality in the centre.

Borussia Dortmund are also faced with several selection concerns, as centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou, midfielder Emre Can and attacker Giovanni Reyna will all miss out, while Thorgan Hazard and Nico Schulz are doubts.

Erling Braut Haaland will certainly continue to lead the line, having already registered five goals and four assists in four Bundesliga games this season, after leading the Champions League scoring charts last season with 10 goals in eight appearances.

Experienced attacker Marco Reus will also play a key role going forward, while Julian Brandt and new signing Donyell Malen will likely battle for the final attacking spot.

Besiktas possible starting lineup:

Destanoglu; Rosier, Uysal, Welinton, Yilmaz; Josef, Pjanic; Ghezzal, Ucan, N'Koudou; Batshuayi

Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:

Kobel; Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Dahoud, Witsel, Bellingham; Reus, Haaland, Brandt

We say: Besiktas 1-3 Borussia Dortmund

Given Borussia Dortmund's impressive threat going forward and defensive frailties, we think this is bound to be a high-scoring affair, and we give the edge to the German side.

Haaland has carried his fine form into the new season, and if he continues at the rate he is currently going at, the Norwegian forward should fire his side to an opening victory in Turkey.

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