Fürth vs Dortmund – Saturday, August 20, 19:45BST/20:45CEST – Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer, Fürth, Germany
It has been a first DFB Pokal round of many surprises. Bayern managed just a 1-0 victory against Drochtersen/Assel, Pokal holders Eintracht Frankfurt were eliminated by fourth division side Ulm, and VfB Stuttgart fell to Liga 3 side Hansa Rostock.
Borussia Dortmund now travel to Franconia to avoid the same fate against SpVgg Greuther Fürth on Monday. One of the main reasons for the early Pokal upsets has been the early start of the Regionalliga, Liga 3 and Bundesliga 2. Unlike teams from the top flight teams from the lower divisions have already been in action for several weeks.
This is also true for Fürth. The club, located not far from the Franconian capital of Nuremberg, have already played two games in Bundesliga 2. In those games, Fürth beat SV Sandhausen 3-1 and tied regional rivals Ingolstadt 1-1.
“Coach [Damir Burić] has made our player extremely fit, and we have grown together as a team,” sporting director Rachid Azzouzi told kicker on Thursday. Fürth have played a decent Bundesliga 2 season last year and have further stabilised the club after two difficult seasons.
Furthermore, the club managed to sign striker Shawn Parker from FC Augsburg. The German-American will add much-needed depth to the squad and with his speed could be a difficult player to stop for Borussia Dortmund on Monday.
For Dortmund, this is the first true test ahead of the Bundesliga season. The Black and Yellows will kick off their Bundesliga campaign on Sunday against Leipzig and the club had a decent offseason that included a prolonged stay in the United States where the club took part in the International Champions Cup.
New head coach Lucien Favre used the time in the United States to implement a new system. The Swiss head coach is considered one of the most tactically astute coaches in world football and for the first time will be in charge of a top ten European club.
Hence, Dortmund’s project is one of the most anticipated in German football. But those involved know that Favre will need time to build a squad that can play the sort of football he envisions. CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has pointed out a few times now that Dortmund will need up to three transfer windows to correct the squad that has become a bit unbalanced over the last few seasons.
At the same time the additions of Axel Witsel, Marius Wolf, Abdou Diallo, Thomas Delaney, Achraf Hakimi and Marwin Hitz are promising. All those players add not just depth and talent but also much-needed personality as well as leadership to the squad.
That personality and leadership will be needed on Monday in what will be a cold start against Fürth. Dortmund will have to ensure not to underestimate the Bundesliga 2 side that is already in full game rhythm. Hence, even though Dortmund are the favourites and will likely go through this will be a game of hard work and an early indicator on how far Favre’s project has come over the summer.
Fürth vs Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Julian Green #37 – SpVgg Greuther Fürth
The US national team player Julian Green is always under special investigation. Once deemed a mega talent at Bayern Green never managed a breakthrough in the Bundesliga. Instead, a transfer ended in disappointment, and it was only after Stuttgart loaned out Green to Fürth that the German-American found regular first-team minutes. Fürth made the deal permanent last summer, and on occasion, the 23-year-old shows that he is the most talented player, perhaps not just at the club but in the league. In fact, for Green, this will be a key season. A good year and he could be back on the radar for Bundesliga clubs looking for a goalscoring attacking midfielder.
Thomas Delaney #6 – Borussia Dortmund
Signed from Werder Bremen this summer Thomas Delaney is one of the “character players” brought in to stabilise Borussia Dortmund’s midfield. Delaney can play both as a number eight and a number six and against Fürth will likely take the defensive part of the two holding midfielders next to Mario Götze.
Fürth vs Dortmund – Match Stats
- This is the fifth DFB Cup tie between these sides. Fürth won 3-1 in the first round in 1990/91, but Dortmund have progressed on the other three occasions, including the 2012 semi-final in extra-time.
- BVB beat Fürth 3-1 and 6-1 in the clubs’ only Bundesliga encounters to date in 2012/13.
- Mario Götze has three goals and two assists in two games against Fürth.
- Dortmund have slipped up in the first round eleven times before, including that 1990 elimination to Fürth.
- Favre’s best run in the DFB Cup was reaching the semi-finals with Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2011/12.
- Fürth were the last Bundesliga 2 team to knock-out a Bundesliga club in the DFB Pokal when they beat Mainz in the second round in 2016/17.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Fürth vs Dortmund – 0-3
Fürth vs Dortmund – Lineups
SpVgg Greuther Fürth:
Burchert – Hilbert, Maloca, Magyar, Wittek – Gugganig – Reese, Omladic, Green, Ernst – Keita-Ruel
Head Coach: Damir Burić
Hitz – Piszczek, Toprak, Diallo, Schmelzer – Delaney, Götze – Pulisic, Reus, Sancho – Philipp
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.