As Dortmund’s poor form continues, Peter Bosz takes to the BVB touchline, perhaps for the final time. As Bosz fights for his job, Schalke enter the Revierderby as the Bundesliga’s second-best team.
This is “do or die” for Peter Bosz at Borussia Dortmund. The side have a single point in the Bundesliga since September 30th, have dropped from first place in the German top tier down to fifth, and have lost twice within the league at the Westfalenstadion during that span, something Thomas Tuchel never did once in his two years as manager. Meanwhile, FC Schalke 04 enter the match in spectacular form.
Domenico Tedesco, like Peter Bosz, is in his first season as manager for the other Ruhr side. He has gone about things quite differently though. Tedesco is the type who is completely comfortable scoring in the 68th minute and protecting a 1:0 lead. Die Königsblauen have assembled a fantastic roster, a blend of youth and experience.
Schalke’s best player is the sensational Leon Goretzka. Goretzka is a versatile player who may very well be the future of the German national team midfield. Goretzka controls the gears of the Schalke attack. He is able to both take the shot himself, as well as distribute the ball to a teammate in space.
Schalke’s attack is more than capable of scoring multiple goals against the injury-riddled BVB back line. In addition to those injuries, the Dortmund back four have been a tactical disaster this season. The players currently manning the back line lack the necessary individual skills to succeed in Peter Bosz’s 4-3-3 system.
Consistently caught out of position and without the foot speed required to recover and shut down an opposing attack, Peter Bosz’s high defensive line has been responsible for Dortmund conceding more goals than we probably care to count over the past six weeks.
Meanwhile, Schalke and their back three, comprising of the ageless wonder Naldo, Benjamin Stambouli, and Thilo Kehrer have been nothing short of incredible. The Royal Blues boast the second-best defence in the Bundesliga, trailing only Bayern München in that category. If Schalke score the opening goal it could be quite difficult for the Dortmund to equalize.
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang will return to Bundesliga action this week following his one-game suspension. Despite his inconsistent play as of late, Aubameyang is desperately needed in a BVB attack that has cooled significantly since the first seven weeks of the campaign. Through the first seven matches BVB scored 19 goals, since then, The Black and Yellows have managed a mere eight.
Also returning to the BVB front line will be Christian Pulisic. His speed and creativity should give Dortmund a much-needed spark on offence. Aside from that, there has been very little in regards to BVB’s offensive production to get exited about with the exception of Mario Götze’s play, which has been nothing short of spectacular.
Now, let us address the elephant in the room, shall we? For weeks now the pressure on Peter Bosz has been mounting. CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke appeared to look displeased from his seat, where he witnessed his team squander a 1:0 lead against Tottenham in their Champions League return fixture on Tuesday. Sporting Director Michael Zorc looked annoyed as he sat next to Bosz during the match.
To say that Borussia Dortmund are in the midst of a terrible run of form is an understatement. A popular belief at the moment, seems to be that if Dortmund lose the derby to Schalke, Bosz will be sacked. How can he not be if Dortmund suffer their third consecutive Bundesliga home defeat? Additionally, Dortmund could fall out of the Europa League spots in the Bundesliga table, only six weeks removed from occupying the top position with a five-point lead.
Peter Bosz, even with a win against Schalke, may only experience temporary relief from his critics, of which there are plenty in the Ruhrgebiet and beyond. His Ajax Amsterdam-inspired 4-3-3 system has been unsuccessful at Dortmund. Simply put, BVB lack the personnel to effectively execute Bosz’s vision. Stubborn and unwilling to adjust tactically, Bosz has been in charge of one of the worst Bundesliga collapses in recent history. Should Schalke win on Saturday, Bosz should not be the manager of Borussia Dortmund come Monday morning.
Schalke’s defence will be a key factor in this match. They will frustrate BVB’s attack and prevent Die Schwarz-Gelben from creating a large number of chances. The Schalke midfield of Max Meyer, Daniel Caligiuri, Bastian Oczipka, Weston McKennie, and Leon Goretzka will be the difference between a Schalke victory and a draw. Despite the talent of Mario Götze, it is difficult to see Dortmund’s midfield outplaying Schalke’s based on recent form.
It will again be crucial for BVB to score the opening goal. Dortmund has been particularly poor in flipping a match in their favour after conceding first. Of course, this side has been equally as poor when playing with a lead over the past month. The time to give Borussia Dortmund the benefit of the doubt has passed. Peter Bosz’s side must regain the trust of the fans and the media before anyone picks them to prevail in a big match.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 1:2 FC Schalke 04
BVB: Bürki – Toljan, Sokratis, Bartra, Guerreiro – Castro, Weigl, Götze – Yarmolenko, Aubameyang, Pulisic
Manager: Peter Bosz
S04: Fährmann – Stambouli, Naldo, Kehrer – Meyer, Caligiuri, Oczipka – McKennie, Goretzka – di Santo, Burgstaller
Manager: Domenico Tedesco