It’s sounding like a broken record at this point, but things are still bad for our beloved Borussia Dortmund. With no wins in six league matches, they’ll try to reverse their fortunes or not to get embarrassed when they head southwest to take on sixth-place Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Not-Fun Fact of the Day: Dortmund has accumulated more red cards all season (3) than points earned (2) during the last two months in the Bundesliga since the loss to Leipzig (shoutout to /u/AdamBomb1945 of the BVB subreddit). That statistic is equally amazing and depressing regardless of team affiliation. It’s been that bad of a stretch for our boys in yellow and black, especially in the second half. Since October 14, Dortmund has allowed 11 goals and scored only four for a goal differential of -7 in the second half, with four of those coming in last week’s embarrassing 4-4 draw to arch-rival Schalke in the Revierderby that felt more like a debilitating loss. The defense hasn’t been great for most of this stretch, but it’s been especially horrid in the second half.
Do the woes of the offense and defense fall on the shoulders of the players or manager Peter Bosz? Sure, the players are the ones missing chances and allowing goals, but it’s the manager’s responsibility to get his team prepared for every opponent. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this team put together a solid 90 minutes in a match since against Augsburg. Coincidentally, it was their last league win of the season.
And as if things couldn’t be bad enough, this past week was a real kick in the balls. Mario Götze will be out until after the league winter break with partial tears in his ankle, while Roman Bürki may not be fully recovered from the concussion that kept him out of last Saturday’s action, and Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng will be watching this one from the stands with a red-card suspension from last week’s draw. The losses leave Dortmund, already battling depth issues due to other injuries, in an even more precarious position regarding squad depth.
Leverkusen have been on a nice run of form since September, having not lost a Bundesliga fixture since their 2-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin on September 20. With four wins and four draws since late September, Die Werkself have themselves back in contention for a spot in European competition as they sit just one point behind Dortmund for a guaranteed spot in Europa League. Kevin Volland is the danger-man for Leverkusen, sitting third in the league with eight goals scored this season. The striker has been especially dangerous during their unbeaten run, scoring six goals in their last eight matches, including the game-winner against Frankfurt last weekend. Julian Brandt will also be another man to keep an eye on, with his three goals and three assists contributing to Leverkusen’s 26 goals on the year.
With both team’s fortunes looking like polar opposite of one another, this would be the perfect match for Dortmund to win. A wounded, dangerous Dortmund snagging three points from a hot Leverkusen outfit in their own stadium would be just the thing to put the season back on track and (whether we like him or not) give Bosz at least another week of employment.
But that’s probably not going to happen. I’m going to lay out exactly how this match is going to go: Dortmund control the opening stages of the match, owning possession and chances on net with nothing going in. Then, after the halfway point, Leverkusen will get back into the game and put at least one goal on the board. We equalize either near the end of the first half or right at the start of the second half, but we break down over the later course of the game because of course we do, and Leverkusen win late.
Recent form says this will happen, but I seriously hope I’m wrong. We still have a nice attack despite no Auba or Götze, and hopefully Bosz goes with a balanced midfield to shield the struggling backline.