Having seen Dortmund build a 2-0 lead in their round of 32 tie with Porto, UEFA.com's Matthew Howarth is convinced the Bundesliga side will resist a comeback in Portugal – here's why.
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Fluid front four
The pace, skill and movement of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were too much for Porto to handle in Germany. With José Peseiro's side needing at least two goals to stand any chance of reaching the round of 16, Dortmund's attacking quartet are likely to have more space to exploit on the counter at the Estádio do Dragão, which could prove disastrous for the hosts.
Porto chasing shadows
"We robbed them of their most valuable asset – the ball," noted Dortmund's Julian Weigl following his team's first-leg victory against a Porto outfit renowned for their possession-based game. The Portuguese club averaged 53% possession in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage, but managed just 37% at BVB Stadion. Weigl and Co know what they have to do on Thursday.
A 2-0 win for Porto in Portugal would send the tie to extra time, yet Dortmund have conceded just a single goal in their last five matches in all competitions. According to coach Thomas Tuchel, it is no coincidence opponents have struggled to breach his side's defence in recent weeks. "We've changed a few of our basics. As a result, we're not letting teams have many chances," explained the 42-year-old.
Guess who's back?
Tuchel says he expects an "improved" Porto in the return fixture, with Danilo and Maxi Pereira available again following suspension. However, the return of BVB midfielder İlkay Gündoğan, who missed the first leg with a virus and whose ability to distribute the ball and unlock defences is on a par with the very best in Europe, could prove decisive in Portugal.
As the Dortmund fans' pre-match choreography explained, BVB could become only the fourth club after Ajax, Bayern München and Chelsea to lift all three major European trophies (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup) if they win the competition. Extra incentive – if any were needed – for the Schwarzgelben to take an essential step on the road to Basel by sealing their place in the last 16.