In just under a week, Hibernian U19s will resume their UEFA Youth League campaign when they welcome German giants Borussia Dortmund to the capital on Tuesday. With the tie being played at Easter Road, Hibs fans have already snapped up over 5,500 tickets to support the young Hibees in what will be an intriguing affair.
Hibs will have their work cut out as Borussia Dortmund are in fine form attempting to defend their Bundesliga west amateur league title. Unbeaten in all 11 league matches this season they currently sit in second place, only behind 1. FC Koln on goal difference.
However, their UEFA Youth League journey has not been as plain sailing. A 2-0 opening-day defeat at home to FC København was not the start the German side wanted. This was followed by a 3-2 defeat on British soil at the hands of Manchester City.
Since then, improvements have been made finishing their final four matches in the group unbeaten. An away draw with Seville away followed up with a win in the return leg was enough to give the BVB a chance of progression and Manchester City at home. A thrilling 3-3 draw with the Citizens set up an all-or-nothing tie with FC København for a place in the next round. The Danish side looked to have held out for a precious point but an 87th-minute strike from 16-year-old Paris Brunner won the game in dramatic fashion. This ensure that Dortmund finished in second place behind group leaders Manchester City earning them a spot in the coveted playoff round.
The Hibs defence will have to be wary of the tantalizing Borussia Dortmund frontline. Julian Rijkhoff has 13 goals in 17 games in all competitions including a brace in their 2-0 victory over Seville at home. Right winger Brunner is also a player to watch out for with three goals in six in the UEFA Youth League.
Dortmund is a team that likes to get stuck in, committing several fouls, and receiving cards in the process. They have picked up 21 yellows and two red cards in six UEFA Youth League matches. This shows that if Hibs will be in with a chance they will have to be disciplined and not get embroiled in the occasion.
Hibs will no doubt be the underdogs against the German outfit. However, they will have the backing of their supporters at Easter Road. Something the players will be getting used to with all their home continental games drawing good crowds. This has helped lead them to victory in their previous UEFA Youth League games this season. Borussia Dortmund’s mediocre away form, one win in three on the road in the UEFA Youth League this season, will give further confidence to the hosts.
The Edinburgh side must be at their best on Tuesday, but if their attack can get at Borussia Dortmund’s leaky defence, who conceded nine in six group-stage matches they should have every opportunity to seize a place in the next round.
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