As the club embarks on its Europa League journey Thursday evening against FC Krasnodar, Roman Weidenfeller will be Borussia’s man between the sticks.
Weidenfeller’s selection was expected, seeing he already played both games against Odds BK in the play-offs.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel otherwise held his cards close to the chest, telling the media in Wednesday’s pre-game press conference he’s a coach that “likes to leave personell decisions late”.
Asked about possibly rotating his starting eleven to give some players with a lot of miles in their legs after Dortmund’s busy start to the season a rest, Tuchel simply said that “everything is possible”.
Not possible, however, is the inclusion of one Marco Reus. The attacking midfielder is set to miss his 2nd game with a toe fracture. Tuchel said the club expects him to rejoin the group in Friday’s practice ahead of the all important match against Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday afternoon.
The question about his replacement is again probably the most intriguing. Jonas Hofmann got his chance against Hannover on Saturday but didn’t necessarily make a mark to establish himself on the right side. It could therefore well be the time for Adnan Januzaj to make his full BVB debut.
Tuchel was complimentary of the Belgian whizkid-in-waiting on Wednesday, lauding him for his openness which seems to have made his introduction to the squad go smoothly.
“He comes in every day with a smile on his face.”
Thomas Tuchel on Adnan Januzaj
It would seem only logical to give Januzaj his first start against Krasnodar – an opponent Tuchel expects to be quite confident after their away win at Zenit St. Petersburg four weeks ago. Tuchel called the Russian side a “technically strong team” that’s comfortable playing in a 4-1-4-1. Despite that glowing review a lot of posession for Borussia can be expected yet again and Januzaj, as he showed in the test match at St. Pauli and in glimpses after coming on in Hannover, has the technical ability and ingenuity to be a big help in breaking down opponents.
Januzaj would also allow Tuchel to deploy inverted wingers on both sides of the pitch, which should further strengthen BVB’s ability to overload on one side (almost exclusively the left so far this season) and shift the ball towards the other side with clever diagonal passing.
Other areas to look for in terms of possible rotation include left back, where Marcel Schmelzer has gone wire to wire in all competitive matches so far, centerhalf and central midfield. Park Joo-ho, Neven Subotic and Gonzalo Castro would be the obvious candidates to get some run against Krasnodar.
A possible return to the starting eleven for Lukasz Piszczek is also on the cards, the Poland international is available having overcome muscle problems. With his replacement, Matthias Ginter, on a roll in terms of his scoring contribution, however, a selection in the starting lineup seems unlikely.
A lineup like this seems reasonable:
As for Krasnodar, our guest author Toke Møller Theilade from russianfootballnews.com introduces you to what he calls “one of Russia’s most interesting and exciting football projects” in this great piece.