One of the first teams to qualify for the Champions League quarter finals after an amazing performance against Benfica, Borussia Dortmund have confirmed their team's huge potential on the European stage despite a disappointing Bundesliga season. The Black and Yellows will be a tough opponent for any team that will be unlucky enough to draw them. Here's a quick presentation of Dortmund's strengths, weaknesses and history ahead of their upcoming quarter final against Monaco. Pierre-Emerick...
One Reason They Could Win it...
An impregnable stronghold
You've all heard about and seen this giant yellow wall at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, who boast arguably the best supporters in Europe. And no doubt they've been absolutely crucial to Borussia players this season.
Since the very first game of the season, the German Super Cup against Bayern Munich on August 14th, Dortmund has simply not lost a single game at home in 19 games (14 wins, 5 draws). In the Champions League, they've won three of their four fixtures at Signal Iduna Park, notably overcoming Benfica's lead with a brilliant 4-0 victory and stealing Madrid a last-minute draw (2-2).
Being so strong on their pitch will definitely be a huge advantage for Borussia, and a tremendous challenge to any team that will draw them.
...and One Reason They Might Not
A very young team
Dortmund's youth became a trademark. And well, Dormund's youngsters are pulling through quite brilliantly so far.
But with their averaged 25.16 year-old team, BVB are the 8th youngest in Europe top 5 leagues. Apart from Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco, no team qualified or still running for a place in the CL quarter finals has a lower average. No other team in the last eight of the Champions League even appear in the 50 youngest teams unveiled by CIES Football Observatory last November apart from Real Madrid (47th with 26.95 average).
A young - and inexperienced - team could be a liability when the very big games will come.
The One Stat That Will Make Your Friends Say "Oh, Really?"
Dortmund have beaten all-time group stages goals record this year
Though young, Borussia Dortmund's team has got more than enough talent and watching them attacking is a blessing. The combination of Dembélé's youth and arrogance, Aubameyang's pace and finishing and Reus' talent and experience make a deadly cocktail.
So deadly in fact that Dortmund equalled, with their late equaliser in Bernabeu in the last game of the group stages (2-2), the Champions League's all-time group stages goal record with 21, surpassing Manchester United's 20 in 1998/99.
It was a record that had already been equalled three times, including by FC Barcelona only 24 hours before Dortmund.
It was a record-breaking performance they owe to two crazy games against Legia Warsaw: an away 6-0 win on the first game of the group stages and a historic 8-4 home win on week 5.
In the Champions League, Dortmund face their upcoming quarter-final confident after a 4-0 victory over Benfica, overcoming a 1-0 defeat on the first leg.
A defeat after which Dortmund went beast mode in the Bundesliga, with three large victories Wolfsburg (3-0), Freiburg (0-3) and Leverkusen (6-2) between the two games. And however they conceded a surprising lost away last weekend to Hertha Berlin (2-1), they're on a pretty decent 6 victories in their last 10 games (1 draw, 3 losses).
A Little Bit of History
2016/17 is Dortmund's 14th appearance in the Champions League, their 8th in the last 17 years only.
Founded in 1909, the club already lifted the Champions League once: it was exactly twenty years ago, in 1996/97. Back then, club legends like Mathias Sammer, Andreas Möller, Michael Zorc and Stéphane Chapuisat lead the Schwarz-Gelben to a prestigious consecration against Zidane, Deschamps and Del Piero's Juventus.
Since then, die Borussen have been through hard times, almost going bankrupt in 2003 before rising again in the 2010's. In the last seven years, Dortmund have participated four times in the Champions League, reaching the final once in 2013 and the quarter final in the following season.
The Key Player
When he's in a good shape, he's one of the best strikers in the world. And the whole team benefits from it.
When he scores, Dortmund is almost invincible: of the 19 goals Aubameyang have scored in, Dortmund have won 11, drew 6 and only lost 2. On the other hand, when Aubame remained silent (13 games), Dortmund only won three times, drawing five and losing five (out of 7 losses overall this season).