Borussia Dortmund kickstart their journey without Lucien Favre this week as they face Werder Bremen at the Weserstadion on Tuesday.
The biggest news in the footballing world this week has been the sacking of Lucien Favre. The Borussia Dortmund head coach was relieved of his duties following the club’s 5-1 defeat to VfB Stuttgart and an underwhelming start to the campaign that sees them dawdle outside the top four in the Bundesliga table heading into the Englischewoche.
Borussia Dortmund are yet to announce a replacement for Favre, but assistant manager Edin Terzic has been appointed as interim coach. The 38-year-old, who worked as an assistant for Slaven Bilic at West Ham, will be assisted by Sebastian Geppert, the U17 coach and the talent trainer in Otto Addo.
Terzic’s main priority will be to secure a win in Dortmund’s next three away games, starting from the upcoming one against Werder Bremen on Tuesday. It is a must-win game for a side who will be desperate to get back into the top-four while another mishap could see them run the risk of being overtaken by Union Berlin, VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Werder Bremen, on the other hand, are winless in the Bundesliga since Matchday 3 and are coming on the back of consecutive defeats against Stuttgart and RB Leipzig. As a result, they are dawdling in the 13th place in the Bundesliga table.
Although Florian Kohfeldt’s men cannot fall into the drop zone if they lose to Dortmund, they must salvage at least a point in this game, especially with SC Freiburg and 1.FC Koln starting to find their mojo. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two teams in this vital Bundesliga fixture this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
Werder Bremen struggled to create too many attacking chances in their game against Leipzig on the weekend. Their attacking woes could continue this weekend as Kohfeldt is missing key players such as Milot Rashica, Niclas Fullkrug and Davie Selke heading into this fixture.
So the onus will be on Josh Sargent to deliver the goods on the counter, with additional assistance from Tahith Chong and ex-Dortmund player Leonardo Bittencourt. Romano Schmid is the other option for Kohfeldt should he opt for more energy upfront.
Nevertheless, it will be the midfield that could play a key role in nullifying the Dortmund threat in the second line of press. Christian Gross was excellent in the draw with Bayern Munich earlier in the campaign but the German’s services could be useful at centre-back thus clearing the way for Kevin Mohwald and Maximilian Eggestein to start in central midfield.
In defence, it appears Kohfeldt could opt for a back three so we could see Theodor Gebre-Selassie and Ludwig Augustinsson operating as wing-backs. The three-man backline should comprise of Gross, as well as Marco Friedl and Omer Toprak, with Jiri Pavlenka playing in goal as usual.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Pavlenka; Toprak, Gross, Friedl; Gebre-Selassie, Mohwald, Eggestein, Augustinsson; Bittencourt, Chong; Sargent
This will be Terzic’s first game as a head coach in a professional game so Dortmund’s starting eleven in this game could be hard to decipher. But one thing we are likely to expect is BVB going back to a traditional back four, with Mats Hummels and Dan-Axel Zagadou operating in central defence.
Edin Terzic wants to see his team play aggressive football, he demands coordinated, intense pressing and a high-tempo game. His ideas and his style are well received in the squad [Kicker] #BVB pic.twitter.com/V9aAlJTqWL
— BVB Buzz (@BVBBuzz) December 14, 2020
Mateu Morey should retain his place at right-back ahead of Felix Passlack while Raphael Guerreiro is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank. They do, however, need to pull up their socks following a disastrous performance against Stuttgart on the weekend.
Terzic, during his press conference, revealed that Dortmund intend to play attacking football and outscore the opposition. So we can assume he will stick with a double-pivot system in midfield, and deploy the additional player in the attacking zone.
Unfortunately, Thomas Delaney is missing for the visitors while Jude Bellingham has started Dortmund’s last two games. It makes Emre Can a favourite to start in central midfield, where he will rekindle his partnership alongside Axel Witsel, although Mahmoud Dahoud is another option for the Black and Yellows.
Finally, in the attacking third, Julian Brandt could be given a start, alongside Giovanni Reyna and Jadon Sancho while the Borussia Dortmund attack will once again be spearheaded by Marco Reus, in the absence of Erling Haaland.
Other options include Thorgan Hazard and Youssoufa Moukoko, whose first-team opportunities could significantly increase following the appointment of Terzic.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Morey, Hummels, Zagadou, Guerreiro; Can, Witsel; Sancho, Brandt, Reyna; Reus
- Werder Bremen have not beaten Dortmund since 9 December 2017 and they have only lost more games in their history to Bayern Munich than they have to BVB (44).
- This fixture saw the first-ever Bundesliga goal, scored by Timo Konietzka in the first minute at the Weser Stadion in 1963.
- Niclas Füllkrug and Leonardo Bittencourt are Bremen’s top league scorers in 2020/21, with four and three goals respectively.
- Borussia Dortmund have scored at least once in their previous 18 meetings with Bremen.
- Gio Reyna has scored in each of his last two outings in the German top-flight, after netting Dortmund’s consolation against Stuttgart on Saturday.
Player to Watch
If there is one player who is in desperate need of a return in form – it is Dortmund captain Marco Reus, who has had a disastrous year that started with a dreadful injury.
Since returning to the pitch, however, the German has netted only two goals in 10 league appearances this term. He has often looked blunt and wasteful in front of goal, failing to add an edge to the BVB attack. In fact, Reus has often proved to be the weak point in the final third with his tendency to lose possession.
That said, the Dortmund superstar only needs one game to gain some confidence and Bremen could be the ideal opponent. The 31-year-old already has a stellar record against Die Grunweissen, as he is yet to lose a single game against them and has scored 13 goals while providing eight assists in just 17 outings.
Werder Bremen 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Things won’t improve immediately for a Dortmund side that does need work. Fortunately for them, a fixture against lowly Bremen could give Terzic the ideal opportunity to start his spell, limited as it may be, on a positive note and we do, in fact, expect the visitors to seal a narrow 2-1 win at the Weserstadion this midweek.