The 2022/23 Bundesliga season kicks off this week with Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen facing off in a high-profile encounter first up.
Borussia Dortmund finished second in the 2021/22 Bundesliga season as Bayern Munich romped home to add yet another league title to their kitty. The Bavarians finished eight points ahead of their rivals, and the Black and Yellow will want to close down that gap in this campaign.
Dortmund haven’t had the greatest of pre-seasons. Under the new management of Eden Terzic, they have won three, lost twice and drew one of their pre-season matches. They also started their DFB Pokal campaign with a 3-0 win over 1860 Munich on July 30.
Bayer Leverkusen, on the other hand, finished five points behind Dortmund in the third position last term, their best finish since the 2015/16 season. Under Gerardo Seoane, Leverkusen scored freely, finishing with 80 league goals, their highest tally in Bundesliga history.
Leverkusen’s form has been a bit patchy in the pre-season. They registered two wins and a draw in the friendly games but succumbed to a 4-3 defeat to German third division side SV Elversberg in the DFB Pokal first round.
Both the clubs are realistically fighting for the second spot with Bayern again expected to win the Bundesliga crown. However, a confident start to the season could push either of the two sides to dethrone the Bavarians and win the league title.
Team News & Tactics
Dortmund saw striker Erling Haaland move to Manchester City this summer, and he would definitely be a big miss for the team. They signed Sebastien Haller from Ajax to replace the Norwegian but he will miss several months of action to undergo chemotherapy for a testicular tumour, which was discovered recently during a training camp.
🎙 Edin Terzic:
"It's going to be a special day. On Saturday it finally starts again in front of a full house. It's a very special atmosphere that this stadium can create. That's what makes this club what it is." pic.twitter.com/DbefT1cofJ
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) August 4, 2022
But the Bundesliga giants have also signed highly-rated centre forward Karim Adeyemi from RB Salzburg. Dortmund have also added centre-backs Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Sule to their squad, along with midfielder Salih Ozcan to replace Axel Witsel.
Goalkeepers Marcel Lotka and Alexander Meyer have also been signed following the departure of Roman Burki. New manager Edin Terzic prefers fielding a 4-2-3-1, which is how Dortmund lined up in the DFB Pokal encounter against 1860 Munich.
He will be without centre-back Sule, who picked up an injury in the cup encounter. The Germany international could be the only change for the Bundesliga encounter, with Mats Hummels replacing him.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kobel; Meunier, Schlotterbeck, Hummels, Guerreiro; Dahoud, Bellingham; Malen, Reus, Adeyemi; Moukoko
Gerardo Seoane’s side have seen as many as five players depart on loan or permanent deals this summer and they have so far signed just centre-forward Adam Hlozek from Sparta Prague.
Seoane prefers to play with a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 with a double pivot to dictate the midfield and shield the defence when Leverkusen counter, which they did freely last season in the league. They are expected to play free-flowing football and we could again see them play high-scoring matches.
Florian Wirtz continues to nurse a long-term injury and will not feature against Dortmund. All the other players are fit and available for the manager, who could make one or two changes to the side that started the DFB Pokal first-round encounter with centre-back Jonathan Tah coming back in.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hradecky; Frimpong, Tapsoba, Tah, Bakker; Aranguiz, Andrich; Diaby, Azmoun, Hlozek; Schick
- Dortmund and Leverkusen have faced off on 46 occasions, with the former winning 19 and the latter 16.
- The last time these two teams met, Leverkusen won 5-2.
- Both sides won one match apiece against each other in the 2021/22 Bundesliga season.
- Incidentally, both Dortmund and Leverkusen lost their home matches against each other last term.
- Both sides have scored at least one goal in their last five encounters.
Player to Watch
Dortmund signed the 20-year-old Germany international for €30 million from Red Bull Salzburg. The highly-rated forward has hit the ground running, scoring in his first competitive appearance for the club, which was in the DFB Pokal encounter against 1860 Munich.
He is expected to start against Leverkusen and could end up getting a goal or two again, considering these two sides usually play high-scoring encounters. Last season, Adeyemi scored 19 goals in the league for Salzburg and also provided five assists and Dortmund fans will be hoping that he is able to match that tally this term.
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen
While both teams are quite evenly matched up, the home advantage could help Dortmund start the new league season on a high. They will also derive confidence from their DFB Pokal win. Leverkusen, on the other hand, are expected to run Dortmund close for the second spot and will fight fiercely. But they could fall short eventually on Saturday.