The return of the Champions League is, in some sense, the return of Borussia Dortmund. After a year out of the competition, Thomas Tuchel will be keen for his side to begin the campaign strongly and would expect to turn over Legia Warsaw without too much of a problem. However, after a shock defeat at the hands of RB Leipzig at the weekend, Dortmund will be wary of the challenge the Polish champions bring. Jon Mackenzie previews the action here.
In all too familiar fashion, Dortmund underwent an upheaval of personnel during the summer’s transfer window. With Ilkay Gundogan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mats Hummels all leaving the club, it can hardly be surprising the season has begun with a stutter for the German side. Managing to keep their goal-scoring talisman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though, will still give Dortmund the edge against their opponents.
Legia qualified for the competition through a play-off against the Irish side, Dundalk. Despite coming out of the qualifier with a comfortable 3-1 win on aggregate, they could only manage a 1-1 draw in the home leg, something Dortmund will try to exploit. They will also be aware of Legia’s slow start in their domestic competitions: an opening day of the season 4-1 defeat at the hands of Lech Poznan in the Polish Super Cup has been followed by five wins, six draws and four losses in the league.
Going into the game, Legia Warsaw are currently untroubled by injuries, although left back Adam Hloušek is due to miss out following an earlier suspension.
Tuchel, on the other hand, has a number of injury problems to deal with, particularly in defensive areas. Centerbacks Sven Bender and Neven Subotić are both out along with right back Eric Durm. Going forwards, Dortmund will miss the presence of two of their most creative midfielders, Marco Reus and Shinji Kagawa.
Legia Warsaw: (4-2-3-1) Arkadiusz Malarz; Bartosz Berezynski, Aleksandar Prijović, Michał Pazdan, Guilherme; Kasper Hämäläinen, Michał Kopczyński; Mihail Aleksandrov, Thibault Moulin, Michał Kucharczyk; Nemanja Nikolić.
Borussia Dortmund: (4-2-3-1) Roman Bürki; Łukasz Piszczek, Sokratis, Marc Bartra, Marcel Schmelzer; Julian Weigl, Sebastian Rode; André Schurrle, Mario Götze, Ousmane Dembélé; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The only time these two teams met was in a friendly match in 2012 where Dortmund ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a Robert Lewandowski goal. In spite of their recent lack of form, it seems likely that Dortmund will live up to their billing as favourites. However, don’t put it past Legia to try and make a strong impression in their group and seek to take the game to the Germans. With this in mind, a 1-2 win to Dortmund would seem the likeliest outcome.