It’s a homecoming for Jurgen Klopp as he returns to the club that he managed so successfully for seven seasons. It’s been a fairly smooth transition under Thomas Tuchel to date, with Borussia Dortmund still in hot pursuit of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and deemed favourites to win the Europa League.
It’s already been an incredibly long campaign for Dortmund in the Europa League, beginning back in late July with a 1-0 win in Austria against Wolfsberger. They saw off Tottenham Hotspur with some ease in the last round, although it has to be said that the Londoners made a less than convincing showing, with their focus clearly on matters closer to home.
There will be no such doubts as to Liverpool’s commitment, with the Europa League now representing their only realistic route into next season’s Champions League.
The only defeat Dortmund have suffered at the Westfalenstadion all season was a 1-0 loss to PAOK in their final Europa League group game when their progress to the knock-out stage was already assured.
Neven Subotic, Ilkay Gundogan and Sven Bender are all likely to miss out for Dortmund, but there is still a wealth of talent at Tuchel’s disposal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the main goal threat, but Klopp is well aware of the qualities of Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan too.
Liverpool are in decent form, having lost just one of their last 10 in all competitions (including the League Cup final where they only went down to Manchester City on penalties). The one loss was at Southampton, where they were two goals to the good before losing 3-2.
Dortmund are a very strong team in their home stadium and you have to fancy them on that basis. It’s likely to be an emotional encounter and Klopp will want to see his current charges give a good account of themselves.
Liverpool always carry an attacking threat and the variety of options they have going forward certainly gives them capacity to claim an away goal. Taking that into account, backing a Dortmund win with over 2.5 goals has more appeal than a straight win.