Gotze predicts Borussia Dortmund success in Champions League despite 'very difficult' group

By Sports Desk September 13, 2018

Mario Gotze concedes Borussia Dortmund have a "very difficult" Champions League group but expects the Bundesliga side to exceed last season's poor performance in the competition. 

Dortmund failed to win any of their group games in 2017-18 having been paired with Real Madrid, Tottenham and Cypriot club APOEL, against whom they drew twice.

Lucien Favre's men have a similarly tough task this term, with Dortmund set to take on Club Brugge in Wednesday's opener before games with Monaco and Atletico Madrid.

Dortmund reached the 2012-13 final, losing to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich, and Gotze believes his team can be a threat in the competition again.

"We had a pretty difficult group last season, that's something you shouldn't forget about," Gotze told Omnisport. 

"Sure, two points from six games were far too few [to qualify for the knockout round]. We also had APOEL in our group and wanted to go to the next round. That's our goal for this season, too.

"We know that we have a very difficult group. Our first game will be tough in Brugge. But despite that we have good chances to get very far with this team. That needs to be our expectation and we want to reach that.

"It's definitely not going to be easy. Especially not with Atletico in our group as well as Monaco and Brugge. It's going to be a huge challenge.

"In general it's very important to me. I have already won the Bundesliga title and the DFB-Pokal a few times, so the Champions League is pretty attractive for me. It's very difficult to win, I know that.

"But it's a very exciting trophy and I want to win it. That's why the trophy has got a huge meaning for me personally."

Dortmund beat RB Leipzig 4-1 in their first Bundesliga game of the season but were then held to a goalless draw by Hannover.

Gotze, though, feels there are other ways to measure Dortmund's success under new coach Favre, who took charge after leaving Nice.

"I think two things are important. Not only the result at the end of the season and if you make it in the Champions League or not, but also the way you achieve your goals is important as well," Gotze added. 

"Did you play attractive football to watch? Was it possible to give the fans a good feeling? And of course, did you play consistently for many weeks?

"People have to rate you as good both on and off the pitch. That's all necessary to have the right result at the end. I think that they are the important things in the coming season."

Related items

  • Arsenal confirm Mislintat departure Arsenal confirm Mislintat departure

    Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will leave his position on February 8, the Premier League club have confirmed.

    Mislintat rose to prominence as highly regarded talent spotter at Borussia Dortmund and was appointed by Arsenal midway through last season.

    He appeared set to be a key pillar of Arsenal's behind-the-scenes operation in the post-Arsene Wenger era but has been heavily linked with a role at Bayern Munich over recent weeks.

    A statement released by the Gunners read: "Sven has been with us since December 1, 2017 and has done a truly outstanding job in helping us recruit players who are making a big impact now and will do so even more in the future.

    "We wish him every success for the future and thank him for his extremely hard work on behalf of Arsenal."

    Mislintat said: "It's been an amazing experience to work at a great club like Arsenal in what has been a big time of change. I am excited about what the future holds for the club and am looking forward to new challenges for myself."

    Of the Arsenal XI that beat Chelsea 2-0 on Saturday, five players – Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – were signed on Mislintat's watch over the past two transfer windows.

    Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Denis Suarez this month, the Barcelona midfielder who played under head coach Unai Emery during his time at Sevilla.

  • Barca winger Dembele out for 15 days Barca winger Dembele out for 15 days

    Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele will spend two weeks on the sidelines after suffering a sprained left ankle during the 3-1 LaLiga win over Leganes.

  • Hudson-Odoi 'an outstanding talent' - Bayern great Ballack hails Chelsea youngster Hudson-Odoi 'an outstanding talent' - Bayern great Ballack hails Chelsea youngster

    Callum Hudson-Odoi has been hailed as an "outstanding talent" by former Germany star Michael Ballack.

    Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi is a transfer target for Bayern Munich, with the Bundesliga champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirming last week that talks remain ongoing between the clubs.

    The 18-year-old has earned 10 first-team appearances for the Blues this season but is yet to make a Premier League start and is reportedly tempted by the prospect of greater opportunities with Bayern.

    "We're talking about a player who just came recently from the youth level. He's trying to achieve the step to the professional level in a top club," Ballack told Omnisport.

    "This makes it a lot more difficult for a young player because the standard is very, very high. It's hard to say whether the player is good enough for this demand or not. It's a fact that he's an outstanding talent.

    "Chelsea have to evaluate whether they want to keep him or maybe send him on loan. I think that's the philosophy of all top teams - to educate young, top players and to give them the possibility to play.

    "It's the most important thing during that young age, to play without losing the player. Bayern had their focus on Hudson-Odoi very early. We will see if the transfer is happening or not."

    Ballack was a far more established performer when he swapped Bayer Leverkusen for Bayern in 2002, having inspired Germany's run to that year's World Cup final, and he is reluctant to impart any pearls of wisdom upon Hudson-Odoi.

    "I don't have any advice for him. He has to see if he has a realistic chance at Chelsea in the first team or not," he said.

    "[Recently] he was often part of it and showed his qualities. Is it the right time to go to another top club like Bayern? Every player has to decide this on his own. There's no special recipe."

    The success of 18-year-old England international Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund has been viewed, to a certain extent, as a motivation for Bayern's interest in signing Hudson-Odoi.

    Arsenal's 19-year-old forward Reiss Nelson has also impressed on loan at Hoffenheim this season and England manager Gareth Southgate welcomed the openness to such opportunities among his next generation.

    "I think Jadon and Reiss Nelson are the obvious ones who have trodden that path, there are some other young players who have done that and haven't yet appeared in first-team football," Southgate said, speaking courtesy of William Hill at a Football Writers Association dinner held in his honour in London on Sunday.

    "I think it's good that the opportunity is there. Young people now in our country are less restricted in their decision making. They don't view travelling the world in maybe the way we did when we were younger.

    "They're more secure in themselves and they're ready to go if it gives them an opportunity to play. For all young players, that opportunity to play first-team football is really important."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.