Champions League Showdown Puts Dortmund’s Adjustments and Form Under Scrutiny
In the lead-up to a crucial Champions League encounter at St James’ Park on Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund finds themselves in a period of adjustment following the departure of Jude Bellingham. The talented midfielder, who made the move to Real Madrid this summer for a staggering fee exceeding 100 million euros ($108 million), is leaving a noticeable void in the Dortmund lineup.
Bellingham’s impact in the Spanish capital has been nothing short of sensational, with 10 goals in 11 matches, including crucial late winners. As Dortmund grapples with the aftermath of his departure, the midfield maestro’s stellar form at Real Madrid serves as a stark reminder of what the German side lost during the transfer window.
The eight-time German champions are experiencing a perplexing start to the season. While unbeaten in the league, Dortmund has failed to impress, often securing narrow victories against less-favored opponents. In the Champions League, their performances have been lackluster, remaining both winless and goalless after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain and a goalless draw with AC Milan.
Currently sitting at the bottom of Group F, Dortmund cannot afford another setback at the hands of Newcastle.
With recent departures of young talents like Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, and Ousmane Dembele, it is becoming increasingly evident that Bellingham might be the player Dortmund misses the most. His pivotal role in the team last season saw Dortmund narrowly miss out on the Bundesliga title, falling short in the absence of Bellingham during the crucial final matches.
Dortmund sought replacements for Bellingham in the form of international talents Felix Nmecha and Marcel Sabitzer. However, the duo tends to be more attack-minded and lack the versatility that the Englishman brought to the squad, resulting in disjointed performances.
As Dortmund faces the formidable challenge at St James’ Park, goalkeeper Gregor Kobel emphasized the need to embrace the fight from the beginning. With Newcastle bouncing back from a shaky start to the season, highlighted by their 4-1 victory over PSG, Dortmund is acutely aware of the task at hand.
“We need a win badly,” stated in-form midfielder Julian Brandt, who highlighted the competitiveness of the group and the necessity of approaching the game with confidence.
Dortmund’s coach, Edin Terzic, anticipates an intense encounter and eyes Felix Nmecha, a product of the Manchester City youth system, as the player likely to fill the void left by Bellingham. Nmecha showcased his potential in Dortmund’s recent victory over Werder Bremen, and all eyes will be on him as Dortmund seeks a resurgence in the Champions League.
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