The Bundesliga is finally back and it starts with a bang for Borussia Dortmund. The other Borussia comes to visit the Westfalenstadion, making it a Saturday evening “Topspiel”.
The match-up between Dortmund and Gladbach couldn’t be more even, historically speaking: both teams won 29 of the 86 Bundesliga games that took place between them, the other 28 games ended in a draw. And even today both teams look more or less evenly matched on paper.
Gladbach lost Christoph Kramer, the hero of the last match-up in Dortmund, and striker Max Kruse, but were able to replace them with Lars Stindl and Josip Drmic. The system is still pretty much the same as last season. Favre likes his team to defend in a 4-4-2. While his team isn’t much of a pressing force like Leverkusen, they smartly lead the opponent to the wing and try to control the middle of the park. Gladbach stay relatively passive on defense until the opponent reaches the final third, this way they concede quite a few shots but don’t concede many clear cut chances. Offensively Favre prefers calm build-up play which can speed up in no time. With their fast offensive players they always remain a threat on the counter as well.
Gladbach will be without Dominguez, Hahn, Stranzl, and Nordtveit for the game.
It will be a huge test for Tuchel’s team to find ways to break down the chains of Gladbach. In the first few games this season, Dortmund tried to overload the left wing and create breakthroughs there. If nothing opened up and the opponent closed down on the left, they would quickly shift the ball to the right, where Piszczek and Reus or Mkhitaryan could use their speed to break into the box.
Dortmund will be without Durm, Sahin, and Subotic for the game. Tuchel decided on Roman Bürki to start the game, as he stated in the presser.
An opening day home win against Gladbach would obviously be a huge push for the team’s confidence and all the more impressive after a preparation full of obstacles. It’s going to be crucial for Dortmund to play two great halves in one game for the first time this season. Will it be enough to get off on the right foot with three points on Saturday? We shall see.