Borussia Dortmund (+120) at FC Porto (+240), Draw (+260)
After losing 2-0 in the first leg of their two-game playoff with Borussia Dortmund, Porto’s back is against the wall and they’ll need their best performance of the season when they host the Germans at Estádio do Dragão tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 25, at 3:05 PM Eastern).
Porto wound up in the Europa League’s Round of 32 by virtue of their third-place finish in the Champions League Group Stage. They are one of the best home sides in Europe – they were undefeated in 12 straight European competition home games before losing to Dynamo Kiev in November. But their inability to score on the road in game one means they’ll need to either win by two while keeping a clean sheet, or win by three – a tall order against any team, especially one of Dortmund’s calibre.
Porto manager Jose Peseiro realizes the monumental task facing his squad.
“We have 90 minutes now to recover from 2-0. Our desire is to win this game, which will be very difficult, but we have the potential, the ambition, and we believe that much is possible,” Peseiro said in a pre-game press conference.
Dortmund are the current favorites to win the Europa League title, sitting at 9/2. With a 2-0 lead and a dominant ball-possession style of play, the Germans look poised to advance to the Round of 16. Porto will have to be on the attack from the outset, which will open the field for Dortmund playmaker Marco Reus and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Last week’s meeting was the first ever between the teams.
Even though Porto are the home team and will be desperate, that desperation is apt to hurt them against a good counter-attacking squad like Dortmund. Take the Germans to capitalize on Porto’s over-aggression.
Pick: Borussia Dortmund (+120).
(Photo credit: Eastfrisian (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)