Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Mönchengladbach – Saturday, September 23 17:30 BT/18:30 CET – Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund.
Saturday sees the arrival of the first of the Borussia derbies with Dortmund taking to the pitch at the Signal Iduna Park with the home-field advantage. Comfortably top of the league after the first five games of the season, Dortmund will be confident of rolling over their Rhineland opponents who have been anything but consistent so far. That said, Die Schwarzgelben will have their recent defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League at the back of their minds. With Peter Bosz favouring a high line in defence that was found out by more attacking opponents than he has faced so far in the Bundesliga, it will be interesting to see whether Die Fohlen look to exploit it with their high wing players.
The normally defensively-minded Dieter Hecking will also be looking to a recent fixture for inspiration going into the weekend: Gladbach’s draw against Top 4 hopefuls RB Leipzig saw Gladbach playing their most dangerous football yet this season. What differentiated this performance from the others was the Leipzig side’s insistence on playing football rather than absorbing pressure. In the case of Dortmund, a similar positivity is likely to be on show: defending from the front and pushing the back four up to the half-way line, Peter Bosz’s side could face a formidable opposition in Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Inevitably though, BVB are at their free-flowing best. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, despite a curious tendency to toil over easier chances, has hit scoring form and what with Andriy Yarmolenko and Christian Pulisic both offering a threat from a wide position, the Gladbach defence will have their work cut out for them. Dortmund will be playing with three in midfield, and so, given Gladbach’s proclivity for a two-man midfield, it might be time for Dieter Hecking to shuffle around his favoured 4-2-2-2 formation by dropping one of his strikers for someone who can play in the middle to help out Denis Zakaria and Christoph Kramer. During the week, Mickaël Cuisance had a strong debut appearance against Stuttgart and would offer Hecking a decent option in that regard. Whatever is chosen, though, it will require a top-class performance from Gladbach to bring home any of the points to Borussia Park.
Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Mönchengladbach – Players to Watch Out For
Andriy Yarmolenko #9 – Borussia Dortmund
The career trajectories of Andriy Yarmolenko and his immediate predecessor at Dortmund, Ousmane Dembélé, could hardly be any different. For the last two seasons, Yarmolenko has been biding his time waiting patiently for BVB to secure his signature. By contrast, the youthful Dembélé took somewhat more of an immature approach in his recent transfer to Barcelona, going AWOL in Paris before refusing to train with the Dortmund squad at the end of the summer transfer window. Unfortunately for him, the discrepancies between them do not end there: where the Ukrainian winger has hit the ground running at Dortmund, accruing 3 assists in the 3 games so far, Dembélé hobbled off with a hamstring injury in just his second appearance for the blaugrana and isn’t expected to return until 2018 at the earliest. Having only played 67 minutes against Hamburger SV during the Englische Woche, expect him to terrorise the Gladbach defence from his wide-right attacking position.
Matthias Ginter #28 – Borussia Mönchengladbach
This weekend sees the Prodigal Son returns home to the Signal Iduna Stadium. After three tumultuous seasons where he struggled to maintain a place on the Dortmund team, Ginter was eventually forced out of the team by a fairly poor run of form. Arriving at Gladbach in the summer of 2017, Ginter has re-emerged as one of the quality centre backs in the league. Making up the central defensive complement with Jannik Vestergaard, Ginter has gone about his duties with a quiet authority and seems to be enjoying life in the Bundesliga at the present moment. However, with BVB scoring 13 in their opening run, Ginter will have to be at his best to prevent Gladbach being overrun.
Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Mönchengladbach – Match Stats
- Peter Bosz comes into this tie with a season-opening record of 5 straight clean sheets so far in the Bundesliga.
- Gladbach, however, have only managed two clean sheets In their five opening matches.
- Match Day 5 saw Dortmund comfortably easing past Hamburg away from home. They’ll be hoping to repeat this performance at home against Gladbach.
- Gladbach’s somewhat changeable start of a win, a draw and loss has been steadied in the last two fixtures: a draw against last season’s title contenders, RB Leipzig, and a win over the newly-promoted side, Stuttgart.
- These two sides have an illustrious history: of their 90 previous clashes, Dortmund have won 33, Gladbach have won 29, and the game has ended level in 28.
- Dortmund’s goals scored/conceded of 13:0 looks much more formidable than Gladbach’s 7:5. The question is: will Gladbach managed to break down the Dortmund defence?
Futbolgrad Prediction: Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0
Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Mönchengladbach – Possible Starting Lineups
Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Zagadou – Castro, Sahin, M. Götze – Yarmolenko, Aubameyang, Philipp
Manager: Peter Bosz
Sommer—Elvedi, Ginter, Vestergaard, Wendt—Kramer, Zakaria—Hermann, Hazard—Raffael, Stindl
Manager: Dieter Hecking
Jon Mackenzie has a portfolio career which includes freelance journalism, cryptic crossword setting, bar tending and lecturing at universities, amongst other things. You can follow his tweets @Jon_Mackenzie, listen to his podcasts at ateamofjohnosheas.com and read his writes at jonmackenzie.com.