Borussia Dortmund are still undefeated in league play under Peter Stöger and Borussia Mönchengladbach are as inconsistent as ever with Dieter Hecking. Life is good at the moment in the Bundesliga.
Despite not having a clear offensive identity, Borussia Dortmund have managed to remain undefeated in the Bundesliga since Peter Stöger was appointed as manager. BVB have almost exclusively relied on the individual skills of their players to produce any kind of chances going forward.
Luckily for Dortmund, their players are quite good, and in most cases, always superior to the opposing starting XI. This was on display again last night as BVB’s newest superstar, Michy Batshuayi, took it upon himself to secure a win in the Europa League against Atalanta. (With a little help from “Super Mario”.)
With Mario Götze fully healthy again, the re-emergence of André Schürrle as a competent Bundesliga player, and Marco Reus soon to be operating back at full speed, things do indeed look promising for the BVB offense.
By combining these three gifted players with the unbelievably dangerous Batshuayi, Dortmund may not need an attacking philosophy for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. In short: Just let the lads play.
‘Gladbach, on the other hand, are the very definition of inconsistency at the moment. Only weeks ago a top-four side, The Foles recent poor run of form as seen them slide down into tenth place.
Be that as it may, ‘Gladbach are still only five points removed from a Champions League spot. This is due in large part to the up and down results in the Bundesliga this season, from which only Bayern München have been immune to.
Make no mistake about it, BMG field a talented group of players. But as anyone who pays close attention to the Bundesliga will tell you, a team can only go so far with Dieter Hecking in charge.
Lars Stindl will be on the plane to Russia this summer for the World Cup as a player for the German National Team, and he has earned it. A versatile player who can play any midfield position in addition to centre-forward. Stindl should be the key focus for the BVB defence.
In addition to Stindl, The Foles feature the seemingly ageless Raffael in attack, as well as Thorgen Hazard and former Dortmund player Jonas Hofmann. Their midfield also features its fair share of talent including Christoph Kramer and Denis Zakaria.
The problem for ‘Gladbach, much like for Dortmund, resides in their tactics. They will usually attack down the right side and use the short pass to work their into the box. If this proves to be unsuccessful then expect an abundance of crosses from either flank. This is a common site for a Hecking-coached side.
The Mönchengladbach back line is quite good on paper. But then again, we don’t play matches on paper do we? There always appears to be a moment of lost focus that results in a conceded goal.
There is no better example of this than their recent match against RB Leipzig in which BMG had virtually guaranteed themselves at minimum a draw, only to concede a goal in the dying moments.
The tale of two Borussias. Dortmund is great at scoring late equalizers/winners (most recently against Freiburg, Köln and Atalanta) and ‘Gladbach is seemingly the opposite. The Black and Yellows can flip a match at any moment while The Foles are poor at protecting an advantage.
That should inspire hope in all Dortmund fans for this match-up. No, BVB will not score six goals this time around. As previously mentioned though, despite ‘Gladbach’s talented lineup, Dortmund will again field the more talented side between the two.
BVB newcomer Manuel Akanji should get his second Bundesliga start in this match. Ömer Toprak has played well recently but will likely make way for Sokratis this weekend. Captain Marcel Schmelzer is still touch-and-go but could be back on the pitch as well.
A priority for Borussia Mönchengladbach should be to score multiple goals as early as possible. Dortmund simply has too much quality in their midfield and attack to be held scoreless over the 90 minutes.
As the “Batsman” proved on Thursday night against Bergamo, he can strike quickly, and often. This should be the first match this season where we will see Mario Götze and Marco Reus start together from the beginning.
This alone should put ‘Gladbach’s defence on high alert. When your need and desire is to win big matches, with or without a clear offensive concept, you must always attempt to feature your best eleven players. That is what Dortmund will do and that is why they will be victorious.
PREDICTION: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1:2 Borussia Dortmund
BMG: Sommer – Elvedi, Ginter, Vestergaard, Jantschke – Kramer, Zakaria – Hofmann, Hazard – Stindl, Raffael
Manager: Dieter Hecking
BVB: Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Akanji, Schmelzer – M. Götze, Weigl – Pulisic, Reus, Schürrle – Batshuayi
Manager: Peter Stöger