Dortmund and Terzic host PSV with future on the line

  

Edin Terzic, Head Coach of Borussia Dortmund, arrives at the stadium prior to the Bundesliga match between SV Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund at Wohninvest Weserstadion on March 09, 2024 in Bremen, Germany. 

Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic will know his job is on the line against PSV Eindhoven in Wednesday's last-16 second leg at home.

A 1-1 draw in the Netherlands makes the assignment simple: the winner in Dortmund will progress to the last eight.

Born and raised on Dortmund's outskirts, Terzic's story of the childhood BVB fan whose first head coaching job was at his favourite club is the stuff of fairytales.

Winning the German Cup as interim boss in 2021 before getting Dortmund closer to a league title last season than anyone since Jurgen Klopp, losing out on goal difference, had Terzic living an increasingly rare modern football story.

But a poor domestic season, which has Dortmund out of the German Cup and fighting for a spot in next year's Champions League, has Terzic on thin ice.

Bayer Leverkusen's stunning run under Xabi Alonso, who has his unbeaten side 10 points clear with nine games left and on course for a maiden Bundesliga title, along with Bayern Munich's self-inflicted struggles this season have taken the focus off Dortmund somewhat.

An exit against a team from outside Europe's top five leagues, PSV's impressive unbeaten domestic record under former Dortmund coach Peter Bosz notwithstanding, would likely prove the death knell for Terzic's reign.


'It's a final'

Stodgy and mistake-prone in Germany, Dortmund have however impressed in Europe, finishing first in a difficult group which included Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle.

With Dortmund more reliant on Champions League income than their immediate domestic rivals Leverkusen or RB Leipzig, the financial impacts of failing to progress will hit hard.

Financial imperatives aside, Leverkusen's stunning run and Leipzig's stability also mean a failure on Wednesday would further call into question Dortmund's status as Germany's second-biggest club.

After a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday despite playing half the match with 10 men, Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl acknowledged his team's struggles but said they were improving at the right time.

"We know we need to win to get to the next round. I see us as fully capable of beating a strong Eindhoven side, particularly at home.

"We will prepare for it well. It's a final. In the past few weeks, the team has put ourselves more and more into a situation which gives us a chance to win games like this."


'We'll be ready'

Jadon Sancho scored what would become the winner on Saturday, his first goal since returning to Germany on loan after a troubled time at Manchester United.

Dortmund will hope there is more to come from a player whose performances had him standing shoulder to shoulder with then teammates and now superstars Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham.

Speaking with Dortmund's website on Sunday, Sancho said: "The last time I was here, I had a goal or an assist in every game. I can understand the fans expect a lot of me -- I expect a lot of myself."

"Of course, we simply have to win," Sancho said of Wednesday's match.

"We have to play as a team and take our chances. We have an advantage because we're at home in front of our fans.

"It's a new game, a new challenge. We'll be ready.

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