How Borussia Dortmund can beat Atlético Madrid and advance to the Champions League semi-finals

Borussia Dortmund will welcome Atlético Madrid to the Westfalenstadion on Tuesday evening in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie. However, if Die Schwarzgelben are reach the semi-final stage, then they will need to overturn the 2-1 deficit inflicted in the Spanish capital.

A poor start last week saw BvB suffer, and two goals after 32 minutes looked to have already put the tie beyond Dortmund’s reach. Nevertheless, the Black and Yellow’s regrouped, and a strong second half was capitalised on when Sébastien Haller scored a vital goal to offer Edin Terzić’s side hope.

Now Dortmund know that all they need to do is win, and they will at least force extra time, but a victory by two goals would see them progress. Regardless, they have a lot to learn from the first leg, as acknowledged by Terzić after the final whistle, and this is what they need to do if they are to not suffer the same fate.

Stay switched on

Last week, Dortmund were seemingly stunned by the early pressure Atlético applied to them. A goal inside the first four minutes set Die Schwarzgelben back, and they never truly recovered in the first half.

However, they should prepare for a different Atlético side on Tuesday evening, with the Spaniards having a lead to protect. This means that BvB should expect to be the side in the ascendancy, asking the questions early on as they try to find a goal to level the tie.

If they can apply a similar kind of pressure that was placed on them last week, then they could turn this tie on its head before the second half kicks off. Nevertheless, they need to be aware of the Atlético counter-attack and ensure they do not over-commit and allow the visitors to gain a two-goal advantage.

Avoid simple mistakes

Rodrigo De Paul gave Diego Simeone’s side a lead inside the fourth minute last week; however, from a Dortmund perspective, the goal should never have been allowed. Gregor Kobel’s pass put Ian Maatsen in a difficult situation, with Koke closing him down.

Having to dispose of the ball quickly, the Dutchman’s loose pass found De Paul, who capitalised on the mistake. Then, for the second goal, both Nico Schlotterbeck and Mats Hummels found themselves being attracted to the ball rather than the space and Antoine Griezmann running into it.

The Dortmund duo subsequently failed to deal with the throw-in, both believing the other would deal with it, offering Atlético a simple route to goal. Samuel Lino eventually doubled the hosts’ advantage, but for Dortmund, this was yet another schoolboy error. 

Four players at fault for two goals is inexcusable at the highest level, especially in a Champions League knockout tie. This quite simply cannot happen again, and if it does, it will be the end of the road for BvB.

Be aggressive

If there is one word to best describe Atlético Madrid under Diego Simeone, it is aggression. The Spaniards will not be scared of Dortmund, and they will look to let them know they are in a game at any given opportunity. 

For Terzić’s side, it is imperative that they show that progression to the semi-finals of the Champions League means more to them than their visitors. If they show any sign that they are not up for the fight, then they will not just give Atlético an unnecessary confidence boost; they will feel the frustration from the entire Westfalenstadion.

They need the atmosphere on their side, and that alone could be enough to startle Atléti. However, if there is any sign that Dortmund are not willing to give 100 percent, then it could be over for Die Schwarzgelben. 

GGFN | Will Shopland

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