Stout Sevilla host explosive Dortmund; Porto welcome Italian giants Juve

Sevilla/Porto, Feb 16 (efe-epa).- Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said Tuesday that his side was full of “enthusiasm and ambition” ahead of their Uefa Champions League Round of 16 tie against Borussia Dortmund, despite the offensive firepower the German club can call on.

“This is the biggest game of the season so far. It’s the knockout stages of the Champions League and we’re up against a great team with one of Europe’s most prodigious attacking talents,” Lopetegui said in his pre-match press conference.

“Borussia have top-level players in every line, but that doesn’t detract one bit from our enthusiasm and ambition. We want to beat teams as good and brilliant as Dortmund.”

The match is likely to be a clash of styles pitting Sevilla’s stingy defense — the Spanish team have only conceded one goal in their last nine matches — against Dortmund’s high-flying attack led by Norwegian star striker Erling Braut Haaland and English forward Jadon Sancho.

Borussia have endured an indifferent domestic league campaign that has them languishing in 6th place, well short of the title challenge many had anticipated at the start of the season.

They go into the game as underdogs, having only won twice in their last seven outings.

Despite the challenges, Edin Terzic, Dortmund coach said his team was determined to turn around its fortunes.

“Our goal is to move to the next round, we will do everything we can. We are aware that we need two good performances over two matches to advance and we need the first on Wednesday,” he said.

Wednesday’s other Round of 16 match will see Juventus travel to Porto, with the Italian champions desperate to end a 25-year wait for European glory.

Juventus last won the competition in 1996, and have lost in the final an agonising five times since.

The “Old Lady” is struggling through one of her worst starts to the Serie A league in years. The team is in 4th place, trailing leaders Internazionale by 8 points, although they have made it through to the Coppa Italia final, and recent results — with the exception of Saturday’s loss to Napoli — have restored hopes of retaining their league title for the 10th consecutive year.

“We have been on a good run — Saturday’s match doesn’t hurt us. We are still fighting on all fronts and now another big goal begins,” Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini said.

“We’re going into it with enthusiasm, albeit aware of the obstacles.”

Their hosts Porto have also struggled in the league this season, and three consecutive draws have left them 10 points behind leaders Sporting.

“We haven’t had the best of times in the championship but we have to shuffle our deck, change our fortunes and put smiles on the faces of our families, the squad and FC Porto,” defender Jesus Manuel Corona said. EFE-EPA


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