Continuation of the winning streak?
3:1, 1:0, 3:1, 1:1, 2:1, 1:0, 2:1, 3:0, 4:1, 2:0. Borussia's record against Saturday's opponent Mönchengladbach is impressive. Ten home games during this century amount to nine wins and an obvious outlier which occured in 2005, in the cold winter when only the most optimistic guys would have bet a bunch of Euros that Borussia was still existing in 2012. But here we are, Bundesliga title holders since the last clinch with Mönchengladbach back in April. A solid 2:0 with goals by Perisic and Kagawa, not only remembered because of the festivities afterwards, but also because of the tremendous second goal by the Japanese and since head coach Klopp almost broke his leg when celebrating with him. Great times which forever will be kept in our hearts.
Well, that was in the vibrant spring. Nowadays, days become shorter and shorter, temperature's low, and with a view on the Bundesliga standings a continuation of the winning streak against the other Borussia is necessary. Dortmund is already trailing Bayern by seven points, quite a lot with only five games played. Even though nobody thinks that Borussia actually has to defend its title, people start getting a bit nervous as one would have wanted to at least take part in the title race. So in order for not letting the mood around Strobelallee totally adapt to the weather, a win on Saturday sounds like a good idea, hm? Luckily, our opponents have been starting even worse: A lame win against Hoffenheim at the Bundesliga start was followed by a series of four games with three draws and including a loss at home against Nuremberg. No record to be afraid of either.
But football is not a game of words, and statistics will also not score the goals if Borussia doesn't. Or, to be more precise, statistics will not prevent Borussia from conceding goals which is obviously the main problem at the moment. Defensively the team looks surprisingly unorganised, and what was a skill in the last years, to surround the opponent's ball carrier and to play quick and successful counter attacks after gaining the ball, appears to have turned into a problem of ours as this is the way Hamburg and Frankfurt scored a couple of goals. The natural answer is to blame it on the defense only, and of course it was quite a euphemism to state that our back four are in the best shapes of their carreers, but the simple truth is that defense is a task of the entire team and counter attacks by definition start when losing the ball in the opponent's half. The team thinks offensively, and with a starting attacking midfield like Perisic, Götze and Reus in Hamburg offensive strength is guaranteed, but easy turnovers should definitely be avoided.
For this reason, Jürgen Klopp is expected to return to a more secure line up on Saturday. Dortmunder Jung Kevin Großkreutz is a likely option to take Ivan Perisic's position in left midfield, while Kuba Blaszczykowski might likely start on the other side. Both are well tuned with their respective counterparts in the back, Marcel Schmelzer on the left and Lukasz Piszczek on the right. For most parts of last year's second leg, both pairs were starting, which alone proves that they stand for defensive stability. And Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski in front should be able to create special moments anyhow. So let's bring the ponies on!
Facts and Figures
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Bender, Kehl - Kuba, Götze, Großkreutz - Lewandowski
Borussia Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen - Jantschke, Brouwers, Dominguez, Daems - Nordtveit, Xhaka - Herrmann, Arango - Hanke, de Jong
Referee: Stark - Salver, Pickel - Sippel
Attendance: 80,645 (sold out)