FC Bayern vs. Borussia Dortmund. DFB Cup semi final in the Allianz Arena. Another football spectacle should await us. First of all congratulations to FC Bayern, who won the Bundesliga championship on Sunday – on the sofa, wearing happy pants and eating ice cream.
Enough with the niceties, it’s time to spoil the party for FC Bayern and make them not feel celebratory after the match on Tuesday. Of course, it’s almost irrelevant how Bayern feel. Traveling to Berlin and winning the cup, that’s what’s important for Dortmund. Having an emotional highlight after a disappointing season would be awesome and present a brighter setting for the eventual farewell(s) for Kehl, Klopp and whoever else is leaving the club. It would also take the pressure out of the remaining Bundesliga games, as BVB would have already obtained a Europa League qualification spot.
Of course, Borussia Dortmund won’t beat Bayern just like that. They will need an absolute blinder of a performance in order to overthrow FCB in their own stadium. Thankfully, Marco Reus is back from injury. So is Sebastian Kehl and Ilkay Gündogan. They are all eager to play, even Roman Weidenfeller, who will be out for two weeks with a bruised pelvis. “I feel much better coach” he said to Klopp on Monday. Yeah, right.
But it’s a good sign. Dortmund players are up for it and it reflects the significance of this match. Jürgen Klopp needs his players to be on fire on Tuesday night. A courageous approach is needed, if Dortmund want to get a result. “You must not become passive!” Klopp said on Monday’s news conference, reminiscing the last match in the Allianz Arena, where Dortmund took the game to Bayern and took lead. Sadly, they ran out of steam in the second half and couldn’t hold onto the result, but it’s the right idea. This time, Dortmund should be in better condition than in the Hinrunde. Without any straining midweek games in the recent weeks, BVB should have much more stamina.
Though even with the adrenaline pumping through the veins, BVB will enter this match as underdogs. Arjen Robben and Thiago Alcantara are back in the lineup, which are two players Dortmund have a hard time handling. BVB have to rely on Bayern wasting their chances, while being clinical upfront.
It will be once again interesting how Guardiola will approach this match. How much will he allow his team to control this game without being too susceptible to counter attacks? Dortmund can pounce Bayern’s high back line. Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Kagawa are in form and should create momentum when in possession. It certainly won’t be as defensive as in the previous fixture, where Bayern played catenaccio football for their standards, because there is no need for it.
So, who will Klopp field to stop the Bayern offense? Langerak in goal, Durm, Sokratis, Hummels and Schmelzer will form the back-line. But then what? Gündogan and Kehl? Gündogan and Bender? Bender and Ginter? Kehl and Bender?
Sebastian Kehl just recovered from a broken rip and Ilkay Gündogan from pharyngitis, but are they in the shape to play such a huge game against FC Bayern? Honestly, Kehl shouldn’t be in the line up. He is too slow for that kind of match. Sven Bender on the other hand should be a given. Will it be the offensive approach with Gündogan or the defensive approach with Ginter. Decisions, decisions. Gündogan won’t provide the defensive cover, like Ginter does, but he’s important to keep possession. Though Ginter gathered a lot of arguments in the recent matches and alongside Bender he could really tighten Dortmund’s defense.
Knowing Klopp, it will be Ilkay Gündogan next to Sven Bender anyway. We’ll just have to wait and see I guess. All I know is that it’s going to be tense and that Dortmund will deliver a fight. I don’t know what they will get for it in the end, but I can’t wait to find out!