Round of 16 First Leg
See the Champions League as an opportunity
With 22 players on board, the team airbus with flight number EW 1909 began its journey to Aeropuerto de Sevilla San Pablo at 10:00 CET on Tuesday morning. As they have done for the previous four Champions League away games since the pandemic started, the players, coaches and staff members on board will remain in a secure bubble together.
A private plane, private security staff, private vehicles – Borussia Dortmund have taken every detail into account so as to minimise the infection risk. "We're aware of our privileged situation. We're allowed to perform the job that we love," said coach Edin Terzic, adding: "We feel very safe in our bubble, we take the topic of corona seriously and we try to keep the risk as low as we possibly can."
The team will come into direct contact with almost nobody in Andalusia. The hotel staff, for example, may only clear away the plates and cutlery from the private dining area once the last Black & Yellow has departed. Both the players and staff members are not allowed to step outside the hotel door – except for tonight's final training session at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán and for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie against Sevilla on Wednesday evening (kick-off 21:00 CET).
"We will not shy away"
The fourth-placed side from Spain's "La Liga" are regarded as the favourites by the media. Edin Terzic doesn't entirely share that opinion. "If you compare current form, Sevilla have the upper hand. But it's a knockout tie; it's a different competition. There's a lot at stake on these two evenings. If we can be stable across the 180 minutes and perhaps even go one better than that, I believe we have a good chance of reaching the next round. That's our clear objective. We will not shy away; instead, we want to use this competition to take the next step and be successful again."
The convincing performance in the 3-1 away win at Rasenballsport Leipzig at the beginning of January was not matched in the games that followed by his team, who claimed only two wins in their next seven matches. "We've put something in motion; we've started some processes – that's where we'll build from," said Terzic: "This team possesses quality! We're not demanding anything we haven't seen before." His challenge is to ask: "How can we produce our best performance on the pitch to win the game?"
A top performance will undoubtedly be required in Seville to leave BVB well-placed for the return leg on 9 March. Terzic has analysed the opposition at length. "Sevilla are a very well-managed club that have been very successful in recent years. They've won their last nine matches in a row, both in the cup and the league. They've scored twice as many goals as they've conceded. It'll be a big challenge but one we're looking forward to. And we're optimistic that we too can show our strengths on the pitch and that we too can prove to be a very unpleasant opponent for Sevilla."
Meunier returns, Delaney to join later
On the personnel front, the return of Thomas Meunier offers another option. Others will follow. "Everyone has taken steps forward with their rehabilitation," explained the coach. In addition to Meunier, Dan-Axel Zagadou and Thorgan Hazard are back on the training pitch - and could return to the squad for the trip to Gelsenkirchen on Saturday. Roman Bürki also stepped up his training regime on Friday.
Thomas Delaney did not board flight EW 1909, because he wants to stay by his wife's side for as long as possible as she prepares to give birth. But the Dane will link up with the squad and his 22 team-mates later on. They are: Hitz, Unbehaun, Drljaca, Hummels, Akanji, Can, Morey, Guerreiro, Schulz, Meunier, Passlack, Dahoud, Brandt, Bellingham, Reyna, Reinier, Sancho, Haaland, Reus, Tigges, Moukoko, Knauff.