Chelsea will hope to leave their despondent domestic displays behind when they resume their Champions League campaign this evening against Borussia Dortmund, in what should be a fascinating Last-16 first-leg clash at Signal Iduna Park.
The Blues have won just one of their last eight assignments back in England and Chelsea boss Graham Potter will need to conjure up some tactical wizardry to topple a Dortmund outfit that has lost just four of their last 21 Champions League fixtures on home soil.
As per the norm, I’ve assembled a stats pack for this evening’s showdown below which is jam-packed with statistical nuggets for your bet builder coupons. Use the info along with my Stats Pack Guide to get the most value out of the data.
Borussia Dortmund lost attacking starlet Youssoufa Moukoko to injury in the weekend’s victory over Werder Bremen, while Abdoulaye Kamara, Marius Wolf and Mateu Morey are also expected to miss out later on.
English international Jude Bellingham will anchor midfield alongside ex-Liverpool man Emre Can, while former West Ham striker Sebastian Haller could be chosen to lead the line. The vastly-experienced Marco Reus could be deployed at number ten.
Chelsea’s list of absentees is still significant, with N’Golo Kante, Eduoard Mendy and Christian Pulisic confirmed as out and Wesley Fofana, Mateo Kovacic, Denis Zakaria, Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling all major doubts.
Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Datro Fofana meanwhile, haven’t been registered for the Champions League and will also be spectators. Despite that ream of missing players, the Blues can still field a strong team at Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund are just three points shy of league-leading Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga at present, and BVB hold the second and third-best records in attack and defence in the division respectively.
Dortmund have been notching two goals per game in their homeland, though their average dropped to 1.66 per fixture in the Champions League group phase. Dortmund squeezed out of Group G behind Man City, despite winning just two of their six matches. They did hold the Cityzens to a 0-0 draw on matchday five, however.
Edin Terzić’s troops collected a modest enough eight cards in their six UCL group games before Christmas, three fewer than Chelsea during the same period.
For all the expensively-assembled attacking riches in their ranks, Chelsea have scored just four times in their last eight games, and they have been falling well short of their projected xG per 90 across the entire Premier League campaign.
The xGA figures also show that the Blues should have conceded more than they have at the other end too, though they seemed to find it much easier to compete in the Champions League before the turn of the year.
Chelsea averaged 15.7 shots per group game on the continent and allowed opponents to clock just 7.3 attempts per contest in response. The Londoners won 100% of their final four matches to top Group E ahead of AC Milan, Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Youssoufa Moukoko has been Dortmund’s most-potent performer for shots in both the Bundesliga (2.75 p/90) and Champions League (3.4 p/90) this season, and the 18-year-old’s absence will be hard-felt this evening.
Keen to impress against an English club, Three Lions star Jude Bellingham could be ready to step up to the plate. Bellingham has been hitting 0.8 shots on target per 90 in the UCL this term and the midfielder is 1/2 to record at least one accurate effort against Chelsea.
Joao Felix made what only his second Premier League appearance at the weekend, and just as he did against Fulham in his first top-tier runout, the Portuguese star impressed as an attacking force against West Ham, hitting three shots, two of which were accurate.
While the rest of his supporting cast in the final third floundered and continue to flounder, Felix already stands out as a proper difference-maker. The 23-year-old could be good business at 6/4 to register at least two shots on target for his third Chelsea appearance in a row.
Player Goals and Assists
Julian Brandt, Youssoufa Moukoko and Giovanni Reyna are Dortmund’s three highest scorers in the Bundesliga in 2022/23, though the increasingly-influential Jude Bellingham has been shining brightest in the Champions League.
Incredibly, the 19-year-old managed four goals and one assist in five UCL group game appearances last year and the schemer’s penchant for impacting the scoresheet on big occasions makes him a very interesting prospect at 12/5 to either score or assist again this evening.
Chelsea’s woes in front of goal domestically have been well-established, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling – who won’t play for different reasons later on – are the club’s joint-leading marksmen in the Champions League with just two goals apiece.
New signings Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix linked up to manufacture a goal against West Ham on Saturday in the Premier League, and that pair seems likeliest to do some damage in Germany. Fernandez is priced at 13/2 to create another goal, while Felix is a generous-looking 3/1 to find the net again anytime.
Borussia Dortmund have been enjoying the lion’s share of the ball in most of their Bundesliga fixtures this season, though it’s worth noting that their average possession per game figure dropped to just 45.1% in the Champions League group stage.
Niklas Sule and Mats Hummels, two of BVB’s most prolific passers domestically, topped the pile for the same metric in the UCL before Christmas, playing 64.7 and 55.8 of them per game on average. Value is hard to find for both however, with Sule priced at 1/12 and Hummels at 1/6 to play 50+ passes against Chelsea.
Results are still underwhelming, but Graham Potter has at least turned Chelsea into a well-drilled side in terms of possession retention, as evidenced by the Blues’ 58% figure in the Premier League.
In Europe, that jumped to an even higher 64.9% possession last year and Chelsea will expect to dictate play again in Germany today. Thiago Silva, who averaged 62.3 passes per game in the group phase is 4/11 to play over 70 this evening, while key midfield conduit Enzo Fernandez, who has risen quickly to the top of the Blues’ charts, is 4/6 in the same market.
Borussia Dortmund Cards
Skirmishes in midfield are worth keeping an eye on this evening and Dortmund pair Emre Can and Jude Bellingham, who have collected nine cautions domestically could be on the notoriously card-happy Spanish referee Jesús Gil Manzano’s radar.
Bellingham is priced at 11/4 to see yellow, while Can looks like good value at 10/11 to commit two or more fouls. The 29-year-old has been conceding 1.4 fouls per game in the UCL so far. Elsewhere, The one-paced Mats Hummels (11/4 to be carded) has been booked five times in just 18 Bundesliga and Champions League starts this term and the 34-year-old could be exposed by some of Chelsea’s quicker forwards.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek could earn a start in midfield alongside Enzo Fernandez this evening and their tussles with Dortmund counterparts Bellingham and Can should be high on aggression. Loftus-Cheek has been drawing plenty of fouls domestically this season, while Fernandez was fouled 0.8 times per game for Benfica in the Champions League in the campaign’s early throes.
Joao Felix has been welcomed to the Premier League with sharpened studs and the Portuguese flier could be on the end of a thump or two on his Champions League bow for Chelsea this evening, especially if he manages to isolate Mats Hummels. The German centre-half won’t relish facing Felix’s quick feet.
Match-Ups to watch
Jude Bellingham vs Enzo Fernandez
Emre Can vs Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Mats Hummels vs Joao Felix
Mason Mount (5/1 to be carded) has picked up three Premier League and two Champions League cards this term and the 24-year-old should have plenty of defensive duties to carry out against marauding Dortmund fullback Raphaël Guerreiro, if Mount is positioned near that flank.
At left-back Ben Chilwell has been averaging 1.5 fouls per Champions League appearance in 2022/23 and the 26-year-old is available at 2/5 to commit just one more this evening. Enzo Fernandez meanwhile, was averaging 3.0 fouls per game in the UCL for Benfica before his move to London and the combative 22-year-old can be backed at 13/10 to transgress at least twice at Signal Iduna Park.
Karim Adeyemi is a potent dribbler on the right wing for Dortmund and the 21-year-old tends to draw numerous fouls as a result. Adeyemi’s trickery could tempt Ben Chilwell into some mistimed challenges later on.
Marauding defender Raphaël Guerreiro has been fouled 1.5 times per Champions League runout this evening and his surges forward will need to be curtailed by his marker one or another this evening. That marker could be Mason Mount.
We already picked out Jude Bellingham’s clash with Enzo Fernandez as a head-to-head with card and foul-producing potential. But Enzo is just as likely to be collared by the referee as Dortmund’s wonderkid. Bellingham has been fouled 2.4 per appearance in the Champions League since August.
Match-Ups to watch
Ben Chilwell vs Karim Adeyemi
Mason Mount vs Raphaël Guerreiro
Enzo Fernandez vs Jude Bellingham
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Still unsure on how to make the best use of the stats pack to pick a bet builder? Here’s a few selections that I liked the look of based on the data that can give you a starting point.
Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea
Emre Can commits 1.85 fouls p/90 and has 4 cards in the Bundesliga already.
He also committed 1.40 fouls p/90 in the UCL group stages.
Up against the top foul drawer in the Chelsea side in Joao Felix, who in his limited appearances has been fouled 4.38 times p/90 from his 5.00 dribbles.
That’s no surprise considering at Atletico Madrid this season he’s been fouled 3.17 times p/90, and the season before that a massive 4.07 fouls drawn p/90.
Karim Adeyemi likes to get stuck in on the wing, making his fair share of fouls (1.29 p/90) and also drawing a hefty 2.00 p/90.
He’s going to have a scrappy battle with either Ben Chilwell or Marc Cucurella. The left backs draw 1.40 and 1.02 fouls p/90.
Adeyemi will also have some defensive responsibilities, and tracking back with the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk on his wing will add to his frustrations, with the Ukrainian fouled 1.88 times p/90.
A good place to start here is the referee. Jesus Gil Manzano average 5.90 cards per game in La Liga this season.
In the Champions League knockouts, he officiated 3 of the games where he averaged 4.33 cards per game.
Dortmund games this season have also averaged 4.75 cards per game, with Dortmund themselves taking credit for 2.15 of them.
Chelsea games are not far behind, averaging 4.05 cards, with 2.23 wavered in Chelsea players’ direction.
The highest odds selection of the lot, and is a great bet builder booster.
The young England starlet has managed his fair share of goals and assists this season in the Bundesliga with 4 goals and 4 assists.
But his Champions League form is more curious, as he managed 4 goals and 1 assist in just 5 UCL group stage games.
Although under a new manager, Chelsea did concede in their knockouts in both home and away fixtures to RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.
Potter may have sured up his defence with a run of 3 clean sheets, but most recently did concede to a short-firing West Ham side.
Dortmund are a different prospect, and have scored at least 2 goals in their last 9 matces. They scored 5 in 2 of those matches and 4 in another.