Borussia Dortmund will be desperate to return to winning ways when they host Borussia Monchengladbach in the second round of the DFB Pokal tomorrow.
Borussia Dortmund will face a stern test tomorrow in their bid to qualify for the third round of the DFB Pokal as they lock horns with rivals Borussia Monchengladbach. This could be a tough time for the Black and Yellows to be facing the Foals, having failed to win their last two matches.
The Bundesliga giants are coming on the back of a goalless draw with arch-rivals FC Schalke in the Revierderby on the weekend. As a result, they will be under pressure to deliver in midweek. But, an unfortunate result in the draws saw them face Gladbach in the second round.
Die Fohlen have been one of the best performing teams in the Bundesliga this season. They are, in fact, the current league leaders, having collected 19 points from seven matches. They are also coming on the back of a 4-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday and will be raring to go as they look to advance further in the DFB Pokal.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we take a look at both these teams ahead of this eye-catching cup tie on Wednesday evening.
Team News & Tactics
Following loads of criticism, Dortmund coach Lucien Favre might be forced to shuffle his squad against Gladbach this week. However, given the quality of the opposition, the Swiss will likely retain the services of the experienced Mats Hummels in central defence. He will be partnered by Leonardo Balerdi, who could potentially make his debut for the Dortmund first-team tomorrow.
Lukasz Piszczek could make way for Achraf Hakimi, who will return at right-back while Nico Schulz might be given a start at left-back, after being dropped in the last game.
Mahmoud Dahoud is poised to receive a rare start against his former club. His dynamism could be key in keeping the likes of Christoph Kramer busy. He will be partnered by the ever-present figure of Axel Witsel in the double-pivot. The Belgian’s tussle against Denis Zakaria will be one to watch out for.
Jadon Sancho could be given a breather, with Favre keeping one eye on the important Wolfsburg game on the weekend. The English international is likely to be replaced by Thorgan Hazard, who might also start against his former club.
Marco Reus, Julian Brandt and Mario Gotze, who confirmed that he is fit to play despite suffering a hand injury, are all expected to feature in attack while Paco Alcacer is unlikely to be available. Marwin Hitz could continue in goal as well, ahead of Roman Burki.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hitz; Hakimi, Hummels, Balerdi, Schulz; Witsel, Dahoud; Hazard, Reus, Brandt; Gotze
Gladbach coach Marco Rose will miss out on a host of key attackers this week. The likes of Breel Embolo, Alassane Plea, Raffael, Ibrahima Traore and Keanan Bennetts are all struggling with injuries. This could be an excellent opportunity for the coach to finally unleash Lars Stindl.
The Gladbach captain featured as a substitute against Frankfurt in the last game and is in contention to lead the attack this week. He will likely be partnered by Patrick Herrmann and Marcus Thuram in the wide-attacking roles, largely because Rose doesn’t have any other option.
In midfield, Jonas Hofmann could potentially start against his former club, ahead of Laszlo Benes. The German will be supported by Denis Zakaria and Christoph Kramer, who will return to the side in order to provide more solidity in the middle third of the pitch.
In defence, Oscar Wendt making way for Andreas Poulsen at left-back and Ramy Bensebaini replacing Tony Jantschke in central defence might be the only two changes from Rose.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sommer; Lainer, Elvedi, Benbebaini, Poulsen; Hofmann, Kramer, Zakaria; Herrmann, Stindl, Thuram
- Dortmund are four-time DFB Cup winners and five-time beaten finalists. The Black and Yellows went out to Werder Bremen in last season’s quarter-finals.
- Marco Reus has registered nine goals and five assists in 12 games against his former club. In the DFB Cup, he has scored a goal in each of his last four games. The last BVB player to do that was Henrikh Mkhitaryan in 2015-16, who in fact did so in five consecutive matches.
- Dortmund coach Favre oversaw 189 competitive matches in charge of Gladbach between February 2011 and September 2015. He took the Foals to the semi-finals of the DFB Cup in 2011-12.
- Gladbach have won three DFB Cups, but haven’t reached the final since winning the trophy in 1994-95. The Foals have won both of their previous cup encounters with Dortmund, both in the second round (6-1 in 1986-87 and 2-1 in 2003-04), but lost 5-0 at home to Bayer Leverkusen at the same stage last season, equalling their heaviest defeat in the competition.
- Foals boss Marco Rose won the Austrian Cup in his final season in charge of Red Bull Salzburg, completing a domestic double.
Player to Watch
Zakaria has become one of the most sought after midfielders in world football with his performances in these early parts of the season. In fact, the Swiss international is already being targeted by Borussia Dortmund among many other top clubs across Europe. Hence, he will be itching to perform at the Signal Iduna Park.
From a tactical perspective, Zakaria’s presence in the middle of the park would be crucial as Gladbach look to employ an intense pressing system in order to provide the Dortmund midfielders very little time on the ball. His ability to carry the ball across half-spaces will also help the Foals in transition. Moreover, Zakaria’s duel against Witsel could be one of the most interesting things about this game.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
Gladbach have always struggled to perform against Dortmund and given their lack of home advantage, we expect the Foals to succumb to yet another defeat against the Black and Yellows this week, especially with their squad being decimated by injuries.