BVB head coach Thomas Tuchel will spin the rotation wheel for Thursday’s group match in Greece, as no less than five regular starters didn’t even make the trip.
In skipper Mats Hummels and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, the defence will miss their regular centerback combination. Additionally, midfield aces Ilkay Gündogan and Shinji Kagawa will watch the game from the comforts of their homes as well. Finally, striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is rested, too, so his goalscoring rampage will just have to continue on Sunday at Bayern München.
Dortmund fans need not worry, however. All five players are merely getting a rest after they’ve all played lots of football over a short period of time. Hummels will even miss his first minutes this season.
In the absence of these five, Moritz Leitner got a rare callup to the first team after being a bright spot for the U23 outfit in the Regionalliga (Germany’s 4th division). Meanwhile, Neven Subotic returns from back problems. The final spot in the squad went to 16-year-old centerback Patrick Fritsch, who so far has only one appearance with the senior squad in last month’s friendly at St. Pauli. He’ll certainly only get substituted on as a last resort.
Subotic has only returned to full team training on Monday, so his fitness remains a question mark. Sven Bender is a logical replacement in the backline, which would give Krasnodar-hero Park Joo-ho a spot in the starting lineup. Park could also replace Marcel Schmelzer in the starting 11, although the latter is expected to captain the team. Up front, a better opportunity to start Adrian Ramos might never come. Tuchel could, however, opt to play with a smaller, more agile solution. The three of Reus, Hofmann and Januzaj have all played in that role for Dortmund this season.
With a lot of questions surrounding the lineup, be sure to check out our Twitter account about an hour from kickoff.