If things were looking down before the Champions League match against Benfica, they’re looking downright dreary now. Borussia Dortmund are on a certifiable losing streak. This squad is having trouble scoring, its defense is struggling, and its midfield looks lost at times. Luckily, if there’s one club that’s been as much of a disappointment as Dortmund this year, it’s Wolfsburg.
After having successive seasons finishing in the top four, and making it to the Champions League Quarterfinal last year, Wolfsburg have fallen off a cliff. They currently sit 14th in the Bundesliga with a 6-4-10 record and a -9 goal differential. They’ve only scored 19 goals across 20 matches, which averages to less than a goal per game. With Julian Draxler having left for PSG (where he promptly helped shred Barcelona apart), their offense is looking thinner than ever.
Despite their struggles, Borussia Dortmund should not take them lightly. Any fan of the German National Team will tell you that Mario Gomez (who has scored three in his last five) is a solid target man and can find the back of the net at any moment if the set up is right: Ricardo Rodriguez is excellent at delivering set pieces, an area in which Dortmund have struggled all season. Most importantly, their 2016 purchase Daniel Didavi is finally healthy after missing a good chunk of the season due to injury. When he was with VFB Stuttgart he scored at almost a .5 G/GP rate, so he will add a genuine threat to Wolfsburg’s lineup. Last week, he came off the bench against Hoffenheim, and had an immediate impact.
As for Dortmund, this is Tuchel’s projected lineup:
So könnten sie spielen // This is how they might line-up for tomorrow’s #bvbwob pic.twitter.com/KhPNE4hnON— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) February 17, 2017
I don’t mind this lineup. I like the idea of having Pulisic and Dembélé next to each other: Pulisic is very good at making darting runs along the wing and cutting to the inside. If Dembélé can get on the end of one of his passes, he can wriggle through defenders and find a way to feed either Aubameyang or Reus. Of course, this plan relies on either of those two being able to finish, but we’ll get there when we get there.
Wolfsburg will probably sit back a lot, and try to counter, draw fouls, and score from set pieces. Dortmund will have to maintain their discipline and not allow Wolfsburg any good positions to score from. If they can maintain possession of the ball and prevent any drastic odd-man rushes, I’m confident they can keep the Wolves off the board. After that, it just depends on whether they can crack the defense.