The sky is the limit
Being rock bottom of the table has one - and really only one - advantage. You can't fall down any more - at least for this season. Borussia Dortmund's upcoming match against TSG Hoffenheim is meant to be yet another turning point. Let's see whether Jürgen Klopp and his black-yellow boys can deliver this time.
Borussia Dortmund's astonishing fall from being a Champions League finalist one and a half year ago to relegation battle is on the one hand a miracle but on the other hand there are reasons. One point is surely that the team was shaken by many long term injuries. Players like Reus, Sahin and Hummels missed several matches. But then again that's not the whole story. Some players like Kagawa, Mkhitaryan and Subotic - just to mention a few - underperformed most of the time. Adding to vanishing confidence and horrible mistakes in defence this resulted in a disastrous 8 lost matches in league.
The last weeks gave the supporters some hope when Mönchengladbach was beaten 1-0 at home and we were leading 2-0 in Paderborn at half time. But from that point on again everything went wrong. During the second half in Paderborn Reus was injured and won't return until January. Paderborn hit two goals and we were denied a regular goal by Kevin Großkreutz, resulting in a 2-2 draw. One week later we lost 2-0 in Frankfurt, which resulted in our team dropping to the 18th spot.
So TSG Hoffenheim is waiting on Friday. And the private toy of SAP founder Dietmar Hopp is a force to recognize. Having built up an excellent youth academy and signing several expensive players from abroad the Kraichgau club have established themselves in the top flight league. Back in May 2013 Borussia Dortmund had the unique chance to kick Hoffenheim out of Bundesliga 1. On the last match day Hoffenheim was more or less relegated. Being down 1-0 in Dortmund and with several wasted chances of BVB the match was turned upside down in the last 15 minutes. Two penalties within 5 minutes, the second one seing goalie Roman Weidenfeller being sent off, made Hoffenheim jump onto spot 16. In two relegation battles they defeated second division side 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Borussia Dortmund unfortunately missed this chance back then.
Jürgen Klopp will again have to do some chances. Piszczek, who got injured against Eintracht Frankfurt will be available as right back. Subotic will stay in central defence while Hummels will replace Mathias Ginter. Schmelzer might return as left back, another option would be Erik Durm. Regarding midfield and offence Klopp has some option. Most likely Bender and Kehl will start in holding midfield. Großkreutz, Mkhitaryan and Kagawa might start behind Aubameyang. But then again Gündogan might start in midfield leaving maybe Kagawa on the bench. Ramos and Immobile are options up front.
TSG Hoffenheim manager Markus Gisdol is not expected to do many changes. In front of goalie Baumann Beck, Süle, Bicakcic and Kim will make up TSG's flat four. Schwegler and Polanski will start in holding midfield. German national player Kevin Volland and Brazilian national player Roberto Firmino will play in attacking midfield. There are only two questionable positions. Markus Gisdol has to decide whether he will start Elyounoussi in attacking midfield or Zuber. Another option would be a third holding midfielder like Rudy or Strobl. Modeste will probably be Hoffenheim's sole striker, as Schipplock most likely won't make it.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer (Durm) - Bender, Kehl - Mkhitaryan, Kagawa (Gündogan), Großkreutz (Aubameyang) - Aubameyang (Immobile)
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
TSG Hoffenheim: Baumann - Beck, Süle, Bicakcic, Kim - Schwegler, Polanski - Volland, Firmino, Elyounoussi (Zuber, Rudy, Strobl) - Modeste (Schipplock)
Manager: Markus Gisdol
Referee: Felix Zwayer
Kick off: 8:30 pm CET, 5th of December 2015
Venue: Westfalenstadion (80.667, sold out)