Football

Struggling Dortmund target last 16

GROUP F

BORUSSIA DORTMUND v 
SPORTING LISBON

Borussia Dortmund are looking to hold top spot in Group F with a win over Sporting Lisbon tomorrow morning (Singapore time) to put them in the Champions League's knock-out stages.

Dortmund enjoyed a 2-1 win at Sporting a fortnight ago with goals by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Julian Weigl, his first for the club, to leave them top of the group on goal difference from defending champions Real Madrid.

Dortmund will book a last-16 place with victory at their Signal Iduna Park against third-placed Sporting, who are four points behind both Borussia and second-placed Real Madrid.

Dortmund's final group match at Real on Dec 7 is likely to settle who will win the group, but for now the focus is on Sporting.

"We need to put the whole package on the pitch," said Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel.

"Anything else would be light-hearted and unprofessional. I'm counting on Sporting showing their best side."

However, the Jorge Jesus-coached Sporting have a miserable record in Germany.

They have never won in Germany with one draw and 11 defeats, while Dortmund have a 100 per cent home record against Portuguese sides in Europe with four wins in four games.

But Tuchel's Dortmund have struggled of late. They are winless in their last four Bundesliga matches, dating back to late September, and were held to a goalless league draw at home by rivals Schalke on Saturday in the Ruhr Derby.

Their only wins last month were at Sporting and last week's penalty shoot-out victory over second division Union Berlin in the second round of the German Cup.

The reason for their dip in form has been a horrific run of injuries.

Aubameyang (calf), Marc Bartra (groin) and Christian Pulisic (ill) missed the penalty shoot-out win over Union last Wednesday, but were involved in Saturday's goalless draw with Schalke.

Aubameyang and Pulisic played in the Ruhr Derby, while Bartra was an unused substitute.

Club captain Marcel Schmelzer has been out since Oct 14 with a groin injury, while Andre Schuerrle and Raphael Guerreiro both made substitute appearances on Saturday after injury spells.

Sven Bender (ankle), Marco Reus (groin), Neven Subotic (ribs) and Erik Durm (knee) are all long-term absentees.

Reus is back in full training, but will not feature against Sporting. - AFP.

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