Borussia Dortmund vs BarcelonaUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Sep 17, 2019, Signal Iduna Park
BARCELONA'S Champions League capitulation almost cost Ernesto Valverde his job last season and his jacket remains on a shoogly peg after an iffy start to the new La Liga campaign.
The Catalans had one foot in the final before a disastrous slip-up, squandering a 3-0 first-leg lead to crash out to Liverpool at Anfield. After a similar collapse the previous year against Roma, Valverde is under real pressure to prove he can deliver Euro success.
And while it's been plain sailing at the Nou Camp in the domestic campaign with back-to-back 5-2 wins, most recently against Valencia on Sunday, their away form is questionable. Barca have taken just a point from their first two road trips, and stretching back to last term, they've gone four away games without a win and mustered just one victory in seven.
Remarkably, these two European superpowers have never faced each other before. Dortmund, who bounced back from a shock Bundesliga defeat at Union Berlin by demolishing Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 at home on Saturday, are looking to improve on last season's run to the last 16 where they were beaten home and away by Spurs.
They haven't made it beyond the quarter-finals since finishing runners-up in 2013 and their home games will be key in a tricky group that also includes another top-quality side, Inter Milan, as well as Sparta Prague.
Considering Barcelona are likely to still be missing talisman Leo Messi – the Argentine has yet to play this season due to a calf injury – and their away-day struggles, Dortmund can take at least a point, with Marathonbet going 4-5 for the hosts not to lose.
And if Osasuna are capable of scoring two against Valverde's team – a feat they achieved in a 2-2 draw before the international break – Dortmund are more than capable of doing likewise, with over 1.5 home goals a tempting 27-20 at Marathonbet.
Up top, the Germans have former Barcelona Paco Alcacer in red-hot form. The Spaniard has netted in every appearance this season – 10 goals in eight games – and is 15-8 at Paddy Power to extend that prolific record.
This UEFA Champions League match between Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona will be played on Sep 17, 2019 and kick off at 20:00