Still searching for their first win of the Rückrunde, Dortmund host Freiburg under the warm lights of the Westfalenstadion in another important Bundesliga fixture.
BVB traveled to Berlin last time out and nearly dropped points for the first time under Pter Stöger, but a lovely cross from Jadon Sancho was headed in by Shinji Kagawa to save Dortmund’s bacon and earn them a point in a 1-1 draw at the Olympiastadion. A flagrant no-call on Yarmolenko being held and yanked down in the box in the final stages of the match prevented Dortmund from having at least an opportunity to win three points, so it looks like they’ll have to earn that W at home on Saturday.
Dortmund have been badly missing Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng at the starting striker position during the second half of the Bundesliga season, failing to find the back of the net against Wolfsburg and barely earning a point against Berlin without him. He’s been suspended twice for being a jackass and is currently embroiled in a proposed move to Arsenal. I’ve personally had enough of his antics, but I still recognize our offense is missing him on the field badly.
Whether Aubamayeng is on the field or not this Saturday, Dortmund need help scoring. Schürrle definitely isn’t the answer, Yarmolenko is a train-wreck, Pulisic needs better finishing, and Isak needs to mature yesterday. As for defense, it’s not too bad at the moment, but with Subotic now off to Saint Étienne on a free, they’re incredibly thin at the position with only Bartra and Zagadou as depth behind the starting Sokratis and Toprak.
So Aubamayeng’s back in the line-up? Interesting. Dortmund must think Arsenal won’t hit their €70 million demand, or that their Gabonese star won’t have another meltdown and get himself a suspension. I also love Pulisic and Sancho on the wings, with their pace and confidence going forward that they’ll definitely put a few dangerous crosses in or even get a few chances on goal.
The midfield, back four, and goalkeeper remain the same, as they should be. We’d all love to see more Dahoud, but who would you take out for him?
Freiburg enter Saturday’s affair on an upswing as they try to stay in the top flight of German football for another season. They drew 1-1 against Frankfurk in their first match of the Rückrunde before pulling off a stunning upset of RB Leipzig last week, scoring two goals in four minutes to secure a 2-1 win. In the away fixture back in September, they played tough and scrappy (maybe a little too tough and scrappy) to hold Dortmund scoreless in a boring 0-0 affair. I doubt they’ll be able to hold Dortmund scoreless again, but with the way we’ve played thus far, it’s still not out of the realm of possibility.
Here’s to hoping that with if he’s still here by the weekend and hasn’t done anything stupid leading up to the match, Aubamayeng will put on a good show and remind us why we need someone of his caliber on the field. If he’s been transferred or suspended again, you’ll hear it here first!