The Champions League is on. After Bayern Munich, the second international flagship of the Bundesliga is now also involved. Borussia Dortmund meets Chelsea, who have been showing off a lot of money off the field in recent months, but are stumbling through the season in a sportingly miserable manner.

The ludicrous shopping spree of the “money slingshot” FC Chelsea also puzzles Borussia Dortmund. According to coach Edin Terzić, the in-house opponent analysis department can only guess after the madness of the transfer winter what the BVB team can expect in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League (today at 9 p.m. / DAZN and in the live ticker on ntv.de). : “We don’t know exactly.”

As well as? Chelsea has invested well over half a billion euros in players in the past seven months, blowing around 300 million through the winter window alone: ​​Here 121 for the Argentine world champion Enzo Fernández, which is a record even in the country of big buyers, since up to 100 for Michailo Mudryk, a young man from Shakhtar Donetsk, who was previously only known to experts.

BVB still has to stumble the English Croesus with courage and self-confidence – otherwise it will be quite difficult to reach the quarter-finals. “We have to be extremely careful,” warns sports director Sebastian Kehl, despite the series of six wins in six competitive games since the beginning of the year.

Kehl, too, looks at London in astonishment or irritation: “There could possibly not be any major contradictions.” This makes BVB smaller than it is, but: The club actually hesitated for a long time before giving the – now injured – national striker Youssoufa Moukoko a few million for a contract extension. It will probably storm Sebastien Haller, who is quickly in demand again after his cancer.

Borussia seem to have gotten rid of their fickleness: not many games are won convincingly, but they are won. “We’ve shown that we’ve made progress. That’s not enough to live off the entire season,” says Kehl, “but it’s (…) extremely important for us and shows that we can be counted on is.”

Whether it will be enough for Chelsea should not be decided in the first leg. Terzić believes in a very tight decision over at least 180 minutes. “We’re sure it won’t be decided tomorrow, it’s going to be two close games,” he said. Chelsea coach Graham Potter, who succeeded former BVB coach Thomas Tuchel in autumn 2022, didn’t want to be pushed into the role of favourite. “It’s the knockout stages of the Champions League. It’s an absolute highlight. It’s a big test against a fantastic club,” he said. “We’re all looking forward to the game.”

It is probably also a good moment for BVB to play against Chelsea. Its many expensive jigsaw pieces have by no means come together to form a functioning collective, as the sobering league draws against FC Fulham and West Ham United recently showed. The club of German national player Kai Havertz is in tenth place in the Premier League table – investment and earnings are (still) in an almost laughable disproportion.

“In football you need more than money can buy. You have to use your resources well and wisely,” said Potter, who admitted: “Sure, there’s more pressure and more expectations when you’re spending a lot of money.” Incidentally, the bogus giant Chelsea also paid a fee for Potter: 24 million euros to Brighton

Or the wallet again? The Londoners are stretching their spending with extremely long contract terms (up to 2031 for Mudryk) over many years in order to cheat their way through the financial fair play rules. The associations have already considered this practice and are considering measures to counteract it.