After Barcelona’s narrow 2-1 win at Butarque, the Catalan giants welcome Borussia Dortmund to Camp Nou for the fifth Champions League match of the season. It won’t be an easy 90 minutes of play for Ernesto Valverde’s men, but if they manage to clinch a win they will automatically advance to the next round of the competition.
Three key factors to take into account when facing Bundesliga’s 2018/2019 runners up:
High Defensive Line
The German side are known to play with a very high defensive line meaning they come out to press high and outnumber their opponents in the first half. How should Barcelona face this high defensive line? The Blaugrana must avoid sloppy defensive mistakes and properly bring the ball out of their own half with quick passes. The key will be to find the open spaces behind Dortmund’s defensive line while avoiding the offside trap.
Lucien Favre’s adaptability
Dortmund’s coach is known for his flexibility and adaptability throughout games and it comes as no surprise, as the Bundesliga is one of the most tactically sharp and flexible leagues in the world. Favre is known to deploy various systems and formations during a match with the goal of minimizing their weaknesses and maximizing their strengths. The Swiss manager’s adaptability throughout a game translates into a very versatile squad, players who can occupy different roles within different formations. What does this exactly mean for Barcelona? If Messi and Co. perform well, and Favre finds flaws in his own system, he will automatically change the formation, meaning Barcelona must not lose focus or get sidetracked, as a possible new system from Dortmund could take the Catalans by surprise.
Effectivity in front of goal
Last season Borussia Dortmund had the best-shot conversion rate in Europe’s top 5 leagues, with a goal coming every six shots. They work as a unit, move as a unit and generate chances as a unit and their overlapping and dynamic full-backs support their attacks. This means, Barcelona cannot afford any mishaps in their own half. The likes of Jandon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and Marco Reus will be looking to capitalize on the home side’s mistakes.
If Barcelona prevent the visitors from implementing their style of play, convert their possession into chances and compete at a high level of intensity throughout the entire 90 minutes, the Catalans might be looking at their ticket to the round of 16