With the Champions League now behind us (yay Europa League?), Borussia Dortmund can return their sights to Bundesliga play with a home match against relegation candidate Werder Bremen this Saturday.
Dortmund has to be looking for something, anything, to get themselves back in the right direction domestically, especially after last weekend’s offensive showing on offense in a 1-1 draw against Bayer Leverkusen. BVB had one single shot on net by the end of the first half, and if it weren’t for a nice goal by Yarmolenko late in the second half and Bürki standing on his head all day, they’d have definitely lost to a 10-man Leverkusen outfit. I want to reiterate that: Dortmund were outplayed by 10-man Leverkusen. I know they have real injury and depth problems, but if you can’t put more than one goal in the net against a team down a player, then you have much bigger problems on your hands.
Speaking of injuries, woo boy are Dortmund wounded entering Saturday. They’ve lost starters Götze (ACL), Philipp (knee), and Castro (LCL) all joining the injury list in the last two weeks. With these key injuries, plus an injury to Lukasz Piszczek at the right-back position, Dortmund has been resorting to using players like Bartra or Pulisic as right wing-backs. And if the preview of the potential line-up is anything, it looks like they’ll try it again.
Our opponents this week, Bremen are one point behind Freiburg for an early spot in the relegation playoff, sitting on 11 points with a minus-seven goal differential. They got their first win of the season only two weeks ago against Hannover and then again last weekend against Stuttgart, but before that had lost six of their first 11 league matches. Max Kruse leads them with five goals on the season, while Fin Bartels has chipped in two goals and three assists from the right wing.
Look, if we can’t beat Bremen, we’re royally forked. Plain and simple; this is a game where we, the far superior team, should absolutely throttle the opposition. Maybe the comeback draw against Leverkusen sparked something in the team; it looked like they had the fight to come back against Real Madrid in Wednesday’s Champions League match. If the team can carry that over into Saturday’s affair, I’d like to think they can bring an end to this unthinkably-long slide with a win and a step towards getting into the Top 4.
Although the opposite wouldn’t exactly surprise me; a team wounded and weary after traveling back from Madrid in a hard-fought loss overlooks a bottom-feeder team in the league and they register an embarrassing draw or loss. It happened against Freiburg early in the season, it happened against Stuttgart, and it can definitely happen against Bremen.
Whether we win or not, I just don’t want to see an offensive performance like last week. I know we don’t have the available talent or the coaching to put together something like a 5-0 win like we did against Köln at the beginning of the season, but with Aubamayeng back in the lineup and Bremen as his opposition, I predict a 3-0 win for the Black and Yellows against Die Grün-Weißen.