It’s Matchday 19 and Borussia Dortmund travel to the German capital to take on Hertha Berlin in one of many Friday fixtures this season.
Dortmund seem to be in a bit of a mess right now. Along with the reports of an Aubamayeng move to Arsenal growing closer and closer to becoming a reality with no reports of a successor lined up (there’s no way Isak is ready to be a starter in the Bundesliga), there’s also been a little report from Sport Bild of outgoing transfers by Neven Subotic and Marc Bartra. There’s probably going to be plenty of wholesale change coming by the start of next season.
I’m ready for both outcomes regarding Aubamayeng:
Option 1: We get rid of Aubamayeng, and we roll with Isak or Schürrle or even Yarmolenko at striker for a while until we bring in a Bundesliga-level player to replace him.
Option 2: Nothing happens, and we hear endless rumors of Aubamayeng moving away and a new striker coming in to replace him… again.
Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on the off-field shenanigans. Let’s focus on some football! Dortmund are coming into Friday’s match against Hertha Berlin after a disappointing home draw against Wolfsburg. Despite letting fly 18 shots to Wolfsburg’s 10, we simply couldn’t buy a goal while only the amazing efforts of Mr. Roman Bürki kept our opponents scoreless. Jadon Sancho, in his first start, looked outstanding at times and his age at others, especially when he was bodied off the ball. He’s still 17 and growing into senior-team football, but it’s encouraging to see a 17 year-old go at a defense with so much confidence. I can’t wait to see wingers Pulisic and Sancho pair with whoever we have at striker.
Speaking of Pulisic, all reports indicate he’ll be fully recovered from his muscular injury that kept him out of last Sunday’s fixture. And since he hasn’t been transferred or done anything stupid this week, Aubamayeng looks to be back in the starting line-up as well.
The last time these two teams met, it was a comfortable 2-0 home win for BVB in September. The Black & Yellows got their win with a nifty finish by Aubamayeng and a screamer from Nuri Sahin. With BVB still recovering from injuries and their poor form towards the end of the Bosz era, I doubt it would be such an easy win. Still, Berlin started off their Rückrunde with a 1-0 loss away to Stuttgart.
I like this line-up. Yarmolenko had a nightmare of a game against Wolfsburg, so it’s only fair to see him dropped in favor of Sancho. I’d have liked to see Dahoud in the line-up to provide some two-way action in the midfield, but you would have to drop either Kagawa or Götze. And it’s nice to see the back-four remain completely intact for a change.
I don’t think they’ll go another match without scoring, with or without Aubamayeng on the field, so I predict a 2-0 win over Die Alte Dame, with Götze and Pulisic recording goals.
UPDATE: Aubameyang has not traveled with the squad to Berlin.