Champions League: Dortmund′s last chance for Europe? | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 17.03.2015
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Champions League: Dortmund's last chance for Europe?

With the score at 2-1 in favor of the Italians, Borussia Dortmund could be about to play their last European game for over a year. On Wednesday night they face Juventus in another huge occasion at Signal Iduna Park.

Whilst entertaining as a whole, the Champions League competition has become famous for serving up extra portions of drama at Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park recently. In the last two years, wins over Real Madrid and Malaga have become etched in the memory of almost every football fan. Now, after two consecutive draws leaves their domestic qualification in the balance, a last chance for European football next season could come from winning this season's Champions League. However, a 2-1 deficit stands in their way of progression.

"We face the greatest challenge there is in football, to score against an Italian team that will advance with a 0-0 draw," head coach Jürgen Klopp told reporters ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

The history of the tie is well documented - the last big game between the two was the 1997 Champions League final, where Dortmund triumphed. Before then, Dortmund lost all three home games against the Turin club in European competition, a record that must change for them to keep another dream Champions League run alive.

Champions League celebrations in 1997

Dortmund fans will be hoping for another upset like 1997

Earlier in the week, Klopp had said to UEFA's website: "I don't know if it [Dortmund's style of play] needs to be exciting until the end, but if it gets dramatic, that means we are still in the race at that point – and that would be positive."

Drama isn't necessary this time around though. As captain Mats Hummels, also speaking at the pre-game press conference, said: "It's not like against Real Madrid last season where we had to score three or four goals to advance. Here we have to use the chances we get, be a bit more accurate in the last third of the pitch."

Struggling in the league

Tenth in the Bundesliga, Dortmund's chances of qualification for Europe's elite club competition through league position look slim with only nine games left to play. The most realistic route for them to qualify for the competition next season would be to win this year's title. It's a chance for Dortmund to show that they're still a power in Europe.

For Juventus, the first leg result left the team frustrated. Dortmund had the majority of possession in Turin three weeks ago, but on the balance of chances the Italians deserved more than a one-goal advantage to bring to Germany. Despite the occasion of this second-leg, Juventus coach Massimilano Allegri has played down the game being their biggest of the season.

"It's not the game of the season because it's not a final; it's 180 minutes against a side in good form like we are," Allegri told reporters. "Borussia have four very fast, technically gifted forwards. We've got to limit their strengths and try to play a good, intense, physical and technical game."

Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo is a key player missing for Juventus

Whilst attempting to shutdown the dynamic attacking talents of Dortmund, Juventus is also hoping to snatch a goal on Wednesday night. Dortmund have lost just one of their last five knockout games at home in the Champions League and with the score at 2-1, an away goal for Juventus could end Dortmund's chances before they have begun.

Juventus is without key midfielder Andrea Pirlo (calf), as well as defender Martin Caceres (ankle), meaning it's likely the Italians will start with three defenders. For Dortmund, Nuri Sahin (adductors) absence will be a big blow. Kevin Großkreutz (hamstring) and Lukas Pisczcek (ankle) are also out.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Barcelona host Manchester City in Spain, holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg in England.

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