Can Madrid and Dortmund overcome their injury troubles to live up to the marquee billing of their match?
Last season, Borussia Dortmund looked considerably out of their depth in the UEFA Champions League. They conceded a late equalizer against Manchester City during the last round, but outplayed the Citizens and looked like a team that belongs at this level. On Wednesday, they have an opportunity to prove that they truly are one of the world's elite sides when they take on Real Madrid.
Madrid have two wins from two matches and look like the clear favorite to win the group, but the match against Dortmund presents some unique challenges due to their current fitness problems. All three of their true fullbacks miss out, requiring Jose Mourinho to construct a makeshift lineup.
Dortmund, meanwhile, are coming off a crushing domestic loss. Jürgen Klopp threw out a back three against bitter rivals Schalke without ever training his team in the formation and the results were disastrous, as the visitors pulled off a stunning win at the Westfalenstadion. It should be fairly obvious whether that result motivated or discouraged Dortmund early on against Madrid.
Borussia Dortmund injuries and suspensions
Out: Jakub Błaszczykowski (ankle). In Doubt: Marcel Schmelzer (foot), Mario Götze (thigh), İlkay Gündoğan (back)
Real Madrid injuries and suspensions
Out: Fabio Coentrao (groin), Marcelo (ankle), Alvaro Arbeloa (hamstring). In Doubt: Sami Khedira (thigh)
Real Madrid should play Sergio Ramos at right back and Michael Essien at left back in the absence of their three true fullbacks, just like they did against Celta Vigo at the weekend. Gündoğan is unlikely to come back into Dortmund's team, but Schmelzer should start at left back, especially given the lack of other good options. Götze might start on the bench even if he does pass a late fitness test, due to Dortmund's stockpile of good attacking midfielders.
Match Date/Time: 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany
TV: FOX Soccer Plus (U.S. - English), FOX Deportes (U.S. - Spanish) Sky Sports Events Centre (U.K.), C+ (Spain), ZDF Sport/Sky Go (Germany)
Online: FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.), Sportsnet World Online (Canada)