Champions League is over, time for Hannover.
It’ll be a Bundesliga match off the rig, giving Borussia Dortmund a nice opportunity to get back on their feet. Hannover are 13th in the league, four points behind BVB with a rather attrocious patch of form. Tyfun Korkut’s side is winless in 9 games with four losses and five draws, which means the reds are yet to feel the taste of winning.
The black and yellows haven’t covered themselves in glory either, as they failed to score in their last recent matches, so will their offense, that hardly created a chance over the past 270 minutes finally find the net again? Games away to Hannover are usually tricky encounters and rather close matches. For starters it won’t be enough for Korkut to build up two concrete walls ahead of his area and wait for BVB to control the match. If the Hannover coach wants to keep his job, he will ultimately get a result. The irony of that pressure will be that Dortmund will be given space to exploit – which makes a win all the more likelier.
Yet, Dortmund fans alike wonder where the goals went after the emphatic win against FC Schalke. Yes, Schalke were terrible, Stuttgart, Mainz and Freiburg weren’t great either, but the same can be said about Hamburg and Köln, who only focused on their defense. Of course, on match day 26 nobody will expect Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s breakthrough any more. By now I’m disillusioned about Mkhitaryan and his skills, so maybe it’s time to play guys who have more of a future than him at BVB. Shinji Kagawa and Kevin Kampl for example, who will definitely stick around for the next season. Kagawa had a nice upswing in form in the last months, but was roughed up against HSV and Köln. Maybe in Hannover he might find his feet again and provide a bit more precision upfront. In order to breathe life back into Dortmund’s wingplay – which hasn’t really worked in the recent games – a start of Jakub Blaszczykowski should be considered by Jürgen Klopp. Kampl, Kagawa, Reus and Mkhitaryan all shift back into the middle once they have the ball. Putting Aubameyang on the wing is another option, but either way there needs to be a change in approach, as it’s currently not working. BVB need to find ways to be more flexible in attack. When combination play through the middle isn’t working, wingplay must be the option. If the opponent’s backline drops deep, try shots from distance – you get the idea. It’s rather basic in football, but it’s necessaray. Nowadays opponents know exactly what Borussia Dortmund will do next – which is far, far away from ideal. The black and yellows need to be harder to predict, their attacks need to surprise defenders. Jürgen Klopp will need time on the training ground of course, to work on these matters, otherwise his own players will be surprised by the ideas of their teammates. It’s a cryout for coherency.
Maybe Ciro Immobile will be able to canalyze his frustrations to not play against Juventus into a good performance as well. Klopp at least said that he trained well on Thursday morning, but then again Klopp also said that Mkhitaryan is training really well and “banging the ball into the top corners of the goal with his left and right foot” so there seems to be a huge discrepancy between ‘good in training’ and good when it actually counts. We’ll just have to wait and see which offensive formation Klopp will pick — he has enough options to choose from and currently my guess is as good as anyones.
Since there is not an awful lot left to play for in the league, Jürgen Klopp can try out a few things here and there. With almost every fullback sidelined, it should be a good opportunity for Jeremy Dudziak to finally make his Bundesliga debut. Marcel Schmelzer picked up muscle strain against Juventus – given that Schmelzer had to play every game until this point, a muscle injury is hardly surprising. Erik Durm, Kevin Großkreutz and Lukasz Piszczek are still trying to regain fitness and it will take time until they feature again. Of course, Jürgen Klopp could go for Kirch and Sokratis on the fullback positions, but where is the fun in that? It’s time for the youths to get their run outs, as BVB already must have an eye on rebuilding their squad in the future. Maybe there isn’t need to rebuild on the leftback position, but we’ve heard voices on the Yellow Wall Pod saying otherwise.
I personally look a lot forward to this game, because I want to see the reaction of this team after the attrocious and unexcusable Champions League performance. They are able to beat Hannover 96 and I expect them to do so. Even when Hannover have their best player in Lars Stindl back, they are an average Bundesliga team (but then again you could argue that BVB is just the same currently).