Champions League Group Stage • Borussia Dortmund-AC Milan: Die Gelbe Wand

Wednesday marks day two in Milan's Champions League group stage run, which sees them travel to Germany to face Borussia Dortmund. Some clubs are known for their achievements on the pitch, such as Milan's seven Champions League trophies or 19 Scudetti. But Dortmund have only won a single Champions League trophy, and have only won either the German League/Bundesliga a combined eight times, although they have come in second eleven times. Such as last season, when they choked and lost the title on the final day of competition. No, Borussia Dortmund, or BVB, are most known for their very large curva in their Westfalenstadion, now called Signal Iduna Park. The massive 25,000 seat stand is known as Die Gelbe Wand, or "The Yellow Wall," named for both the size, slope, and team colors worn in Die Südtribüne. Opponents and even players and coaches often say they don't fear the players or match itself, what really frightens them is Die Gelbe Wand.

It's probably not going to be like that for him if he scores this time...

When it comes to intimidating your opponent, size definitely matters. The only thing Dortmund are known for that is perhaps bigger than Erling Haaland having played for them is possessing the largest fan section in Europe. Having 25,000 fans of your 81,000 seat stadium being that fierce, both singing and supporting you and terrorizing the opposition throughout the match may count as more than the twelfth man. Certainly, the volume is tremendously loud, and Pioli even had  Milan train on Tuesday with recordings of the Yellow Wall blaring at Milanello to try to condition the players and make sure they could still communicate with one another. But size and volume are basically the main things Die Gelbe Wand have going for them. Despite many knowing their coreografia, one of their most famous displays was inspired by copied from Milan's Curva Sud. Their song that their fans sing was also copied stolen from Liverpool. There are 25,000 people, but not an original thought, apparently. As I'm sure Pulisic will remember from his days there, though, they are still intimidating.

They say that copying is the highest form of flattery, but authenticity still rules.

The football for this one is an interesting matchup. There is a reason Group F is called the Group of Death, and just because BVB succumbed 2-0 to PSG on matchday one does not necessarily make Milan favorites for this one. In the Bundesliga, they sit in fourth place with four wins and two losses. They come into this match having defeated Hoffenheim 3-1 on Friday, despite being on 10 men for the final 20 minutes. For that match, manager Edin Terzić lined up: Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Bensebaini; Nmecha, Özcan; Brandt, Reus, Malen; and Füllkrug. Of his Champions League squad, Terzić will be missing Sabitzer to injury. Bensebaini was sent off against Hoffenheim, but will be available for Terzić for our match as it is a different competition.

The Yellow Wall that crumbled vs. PSG

Interestingly enough, the only time these two teams have met in the Champions League previously was in the 2002-03 season. Milan lost to Dortmund in Germany, but Dortmund also lost to Milan in Italy in that group stage. Should that be the case again this time, perhaps it will be good luck, as Milan went on to win the Champions League in 2003. While Milan did make it to the semifinals this past season, we would definitely be getting well ahead of ourselves to dream about winning this year, especially after our disappointing opening 0-0 draw vs. Newcastle in the group stage. 

In Serie A, Milan are in second, tied on points with the league leaders, with six wins and one loss. We are coming into this one with a confidence-boosting 2-0 win over Lazio on Saturday. Pioli lost another player, Loftus-Cheek, to injury in that one. Additionally, from his Champions League Squad, he will be missing Kalulu, Krunić, and Caldara to injuries. Most worrisome is the loss of both Krunić and Loftus-Cheek in the midfield, with much speculation about how Pioli will line up instead, Both Adli and Musah have been playing well, but Pobega has Champions League experience and even a goal, so he may opt for experience to start. There are rumors of him reshuffling and possibly playing Reijnders as a regista, but only Pioli knows what the plan actually is.

The Other American could get his first UCL start, but much depends on where Reijnders plays.

As Thiaw, who played for Schalke in the Bundesliga, mentioned in his prematch interview, Pulisic has been helpful in educating the team and helping them strategize against his former BVB side. Notably, Pulisic joined Dortmund as a U17 player and played with the team for three and a half years, gaining his first Champions League experiences there. However, Pioli is also aware of the amazing home unbeaten streaks BVB have in both the Bundesliga and Champions League, which is likely partially due to the incredible support of their fans, even if they are not so original.

Both sides will be desperate to pick up points in a group that no one can predict. Both sides come into this match with confidence from their league form. While Pioli's side have more injuries, Milan also spent €134 million reinforcing this side after a total of 17 players left this summer. In a neutral venue, this might be a pretty tight match. But Dortmund will certainly have an advantage playing at home, especially with the power of Die Gelbe Wand.

This post inspired by the music of Måneskin's "Bla Bla Bla"

Our next Primavera match is 
UEFA Youth League Group Stage
Borussia Dortmund U19 vs. AC Milan Primavera 
Wednesday, October 4, 2023 • 14:00 CEST (8am EDT)
This match can be viewed on

Our next match is 
Champions League Group Stage
Borussia Dortmund vs. AC Milan 
Wednesday, October 4, 2023 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)
In the U.S., you can use a VPN to access a Champions League provider elsewhere*
(*one that does not also sponsor Inter's kits)

Champions League Group Stage • Borussia Dortmund-AC Milan: Die Gelbe Wand Champions League Group Stage • Borussia Dortmund-AC Milan: Die Gelbe Wand Reviewed by Elaine on 11:30 AM Rating: 5
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