The last time Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United met, it was a tightly contested match. BVB managed to secure a narrow 1-0 victory, and with Milan’s loss, they moved to the 2nd position in the group, just behind PSG. Now, as these two teams meet again for the second round, the stakes are even higher. This game holds the potential to be a decisive match that could determine whether Newcastle and BVB will need to rely on results from other games to secure a spot in the round of 16.
Summarizing the last game in St. James Park tactically
Pics 1, 2, 3: Newcastle and Dortmund’s out of possession (OOP) and Dortmund in Possession
Despite how the scoreline ended, the home tie for the Magpies against BVB was one of the most interesting tactical battles that Edin Terzic edged out. While BVB’s form has seen its ups and downs, they handled Newcastle’s signature 4-5-1/5-4-1/4-4-2 system that Eddie Howe relies on to smash and grab in games with a variation of 4-2-2-2 by Terzic that could also function with a 3-2-2-3 if Emre can decide to drop back.
Pictures 1 and 2 underscore Newcastle’s efforts to implement a 4-5-1 formation, particularly in their attempt to closely mark the two central pivots in Dortmund’s system. In response, Dortmund adjusted their approach by incorporating an auxiliary 3-man defense, as depicted in picture 3. This setup allowed Emre Can to drop deep, effectively countering Newcastle’s initial 4-4-2/5-3-2 pressing formation. Consequently, it consistently created a favorable 3v2 situation during the first phase of play, facilitating Dortmund’s overall performance.
Dortmund vs Newcastle – A Data Based Preview
How the Numbers Stack up
Pic 4: A Preview Visual Looking at Key Metrics and Areas
The above visual in pic 4 perhaps summarizes both teams in the best way possible. Despite Borussia Dortmund’s cleansheet in their away victory, they have conceded a considerable number of goals, notably in their recent ‘der Klassiker’ against Bayern Munich, where they let in 4 goals. It’s noteworthy that Newcastle will likely take this into consideration as they prepare for the upcoming game.
On the other hand, Newcastle stands out as a team that often surpasses their expected goals. This is largely attributed to Callum Wilson, who, alongside Isak, has been one of their top goalscorers over the past two years.
For BVB, Julian Brandt’s the go-to for goals. Despite various options like Fullkrug, Haller, Malen and Adeyemi, Brandt’s been the important source to find the net and he’s expected to take the role again. But again, taking BVB lightly would be wrong as they are as a team much more uniform to generate chances as we see the heatmaps in pic 4 compared to Newcastle who rely on the Trippier combinations from the right.
Predicted Lineups and Conclusions
Who would make the squad and the Absentees
Pic 5: The predicted Lineups (via Bundesliga News)
Newcastle’s biggest absentee would be at their left-flank with Trippier expected to play as the LB, which should pave the way for Tino Livramento to play as the right-back. For BVB, Nmecha is favored to replace Ozcan in the midfield who played against Bayern along with Ryerson who should also come in for Marius Wolf, both of whom can offer more dynamic attacking presence after BVB went goalless against Bayern.
The lineup for Newcastle perhaps offers them plenty of flexibility to shift to the 5 or 3 back out of and in possession for teams. In this case, Trippier shifting as LCB or playing even as RCB is easily possible for his skill. For BVB, Bensebaini offers this similar flexibility to slot in as the Ball playing wide CB.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 26, 2023
To conclude, this game could possibly pave the path for who could join PSG in their quest for a spot in the last 16 teams that would take part in KO’s though the result favorable to Milan in PSG’s away leg at San Siro could also bring them back to the fold making it a potential 3 horse race for that Top 2 spots.