Second place up for grabs in Lisbon showdown

Sporting in need of a win

The hosts sit third in Group C, level on points with Wednesday night's German visitors. Borussia Dortmund only sit above Sporting due to their head-to-head record, with Die Borussen winning 1-0 in the reverse fixture thanks to a Donyell Malen strike in the first half back in late September. But Sporting have improved since that narrow defeat, and look set to give a very good account of themselves when they welcome Dortmund to the Estadio Jose Alvalade for their penultimate Champions League group game. Sporting are on a run that has now extended to nine consecutive victories in all competitions, beating Portuguese second division side Varzim 2-1 in the Taca de Portugal just before the international break. Ruben Amorim has seen his side recover after losing their opening two Champions League group games to beat struggling Besiktas very comfortably both home and away, winning 4-1 and 4-0. This has kept their qualification hopes alive, but relies on them beating Dortmund to make sure they don't crash out if they finish level on points with them, and then beat Ajax in the final gameweek of these Champions League group stages. Considering Dortmund will be hosting already doomed Besiktas on that Tuesday, the necessity of a win for Sporting is even more great. A defeat to Dortmund on Wednesday night would see Sporting drop into the Europa League no matter what happens on the final matchday. To keep the potential for qualification to the knockouts in their own hands, Sporting have to win by two or more goals and a draw would mean it all came down to that last set of group games.

Dortmund one step away from the knockouts

Marco Rose's side stopped a losing slide that could've extended to three in a row in all competitions, beating Stuttgart narrowly on Saturday 2-1. Goals from Donyell Malen and Marco Reus cancelled out Roberto Massimo's strike an hour in. Captain Reus' late winner sees Dortmund continue to cling on to Bayern's coattails at the top of the league, now just one points off of top spot in the Bundesliga. The Champions League hasn't been quite as kind to Dortmund. They had two quite humbling defeats at the hands of table topping Ajax, losing 4-0 in Amsterdam and 3-1 at home to the Dutch champions. These two losses mean that Dortmund can't catch Ajax who have already secured top spot in Group C, winning all four group games so far. Dortmund will have to be at their very best to beat an in form Sporting side on their own turf. They know that a win in Lisbon will secure knockout qualification, but life without Erling Haaland has been cruel on Rose's side. Without the Norwegian superstar, Dortmund have lacked a focal point in attack, with Donyell Malen struggling to find his best form and fill the big shoes of Haaland. Marco Reus has also joined Malen in trying to fill this Haaland shaped void, finding the back of the net in his last four games across all competitions for club and country, and the 32-year-old will be crucial for Dortmund on Wednesday night.

This should be a cracking game, and I expect Sporting to really go for this game with nothing really to lose in having to beat their German visitors on Wednesday. That's why I'm going with over 2.5 goals with betway.

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