Which Borussia is better? That question gets answered Saturday when Dortmund and Monchengladbach meet for the first time this season at the Wesfalenstadion. Dortmund remains in first place in the Bundesliga with 13 points out of a possible 15 while outscoring opponents 13-0. Gladbach sits in seventh place following a 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart on Tuesday.
What to Watch for: Generating Offense from the Outside
Many of Gladbach’s chances are generated from the flanks as full backs and wing midfielders use their speed to create chances for strikers in the middle. Aside from Lars Stindl’s distance shooting extravaganza, a lot of the team’s chances come from the outside. The team’s wingers aren’t shy to shoot either and make the most of their limited opportunities at goal.
In their recent game against Stuttgart, the first goal came off a beautiful one-two passing play along the wing that ended with a finish in the middle of the penalty area.
The team’s first goal of the year came after linking up several passes along one side of the field before a pass from the winger across the face of goal resulted in a strike. If Gladbach can find good link-up play on Saturday, it could lead to a successful day for the offense.
Key to the Game: Find space between midfield and defense
A lot of Gladbach’s opponents this season have found success by opening up space in between the backline and the flat-four of the midfield. Take the match against Leipzig for example.
Both of Leipzig’s goals came as a result of creating space between the midfield and defensive units. The first came when Timo Werner got ahead of the midfielders but stayed behind the defenders. The second came as Jean-Kevin Augustin received a pass just ahead of the defenders after making a run through space. All Augustin needed to do was turn and fire, which he did successfully.
Using a 4-3-3 approach, Dortmund can use the speed of its front three to push forward into space and generate chances.
Player to Watch: Thorgan Hazard
It’s easy to see how Thorgan and Eden are related by watching them on the pitch. The younger brother, Thorgan, is deceivingly fast and is a creative winger who can craft inch-perfect passes. With strikers Raffael and Lars Stindl in good scoring form, Hazard’s dogged work on the wings deserves equal credit for Gladbach’s offensive output.
- Formation: 4-4-2
- Goalkeeper: Tobias Sippel
- Defenders: Nico Elvedi, Oscar Wendt, Jannik Vestergaard, Matthias Ginter
- Midfielders: Thorgan Hazard, Christoph Kramer, Denis Zakaria, Fabian Johnson
- Forwards: Lars Stindl, Raffael
Prediction: 2-1 Dortmund
Okay, so the shutout streak stayed intact in BVB’s win over Hamburg. But how long can this makeshift defense truthfully keep it going? There’s a strong chance that, against a strong offense like Gladbach, BVB will FINALLY concede a goal. However, Auba will also stay rolling and a little Christian Pulisic magic will lead Dortmund to another home win.