A birthday wish: close the gap to Europe!
Given Borussia’s stunning series of being non-defeated in 8 consequent matches, Dortmunders hope for the best in Wolfsburg, just a week before the 100th anniversary of the club – at least 1 point and possibly close the gap between Euroleague and Borussia Dortmund.
Though the incumbent champion currently resembles a Golf rather than an Touareg, it is obvious that the team around Dzeko, Grafite and Misimovic is always capable of beating any team in Bundesliga. It is particularly this part, the offense that excels and outpaces any Bundesliga team (if they are all in good shape, of course). On the other hand, several teams with less individual top players demonstrated how to beat Wolfsburg: Contrary to last year’s season, their defense seems to be vulnerable, so the best response is to stay firm in the defense and to strike effectively when there is a chance – and their will be one in this year’s defense of Wolfsburg. The flip-side of this rationale is of course that this is easier said than done. With Barzagli and Costa in the centre and Schäfer and Riether on the wings, the defense should still be able to shrug off easy attempts.
In a nutshell: There is no doubt that this is not going to be an easy one, but Wolfsburg is anything but unbeatable. Hence, it should be possible to challenge their undoubtedly strong team – with a firm defense, cleverness and, of course, a bit of luck.
Coach Veh will probably get back to his 4-4-2 formation with the defense as stated above, Josue as defensive midfielder and Hasebe as well as Gentner as central midfielder. This whole bunch of quality will be completed by Misimovic as offensive midfielder and Grafite and Dzeko as strikers.
Coach Klopp can’t blame anyone of last week’s team of not being worthy enough to be in the starting eleven in Wolfsburg again. The team showed intelligent and fierce football in Hoffenheim and clearly defeated Nuremberg. In fact, the match today could (hopefully!) be seen as a rough copy of the match in Hoffenheim: The opponent, with a very strong team, is vulnerable if and only if the team devastates any try of the opponent to build up their gameplay. This mission perfectly succeeded in Hoffenheim, where defending began with the strikers who tried to repossess the leather in their own half – in particular, Zidan and Großkreutz often made all the way back into the defense just to get the ball back and set up a new attack. That was tactical expertise at its best!
The match against Nuremberg has hopefully shown two things: First, that the team is not to be satisfied easily and has a hunger to win the next game, even when the previous one was already brilliant. Second, that the team can beat both, very strong and offensively orientated teams (Hoffenheim) and teams that prioritize the defense (Nuremberg). Combine both, and you should be able to infer that Borussia can beat any team – at least in theory.
To satisfy this inference, Coach Klopp will probably rely on last week’s team: Weidenfeller will, as usual, stand between the post. The defense will be made up by Subotic and Hummels in the centre and Owomoyela and Schmelzer on the wings. Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin will play as defensive midfielders whereas Kuba and Großkreutz play the wings as offensive midfielders. Mohamed Zidan is to impose creativity as “half-playmaker-half-striker” and Lucas Barrios is to be the only (nominal) striker tonight.
Clearly, one point should be targeted by the team although Wolfsburg is an extremely strong team. Borussia has played matches to be really proud of and which have all shown that BVB is a particularly difficult team to play against. The team should thus take to heart their performances in previous weeks and underpin both, these performances as well as the ever-present hunger for more. If the team can put these visions to the pitch, there is nothing to stand in Borussia’s way to a wonderful birthday party next week.
Line-ups & Figures
Benaglio (1) - Riether (20), Ricardo Costa (5), Barzagli (43), M. Schäfer (4) - Josué (7) - Hasebe (13), Gentner (25) - Misimovic (10) - Grafite (23), Dzeko (9)
Weidenfeller (1) - Owomoyela (25), Subotic (4), Hummels (15), Schmelzer (29) - S. Bender (22), Sahin (8) - Blaszczykowski (16), Zidan (10), K. Großkreutz (19) - Barrios (18)
Stadium: VW Arena
Referee: Knut Kircher