International break is finally over. As we head into the final part of the first half of the season things are going well for BVB. This weekend we visit Mainz 05 who currently sit 9th on the Bundesliga table. Favre reports all BVB players are fit to play.
For how we should lineup Favre has plenty of options with a healthy squad. In his presser he said Diallo has trained all week so I’d expect him to start. For our other center back, Akanji could be given the start, but since Mainz has a weak attack it may be more worth it to give the start to Zagadou or Toprak. Both have played fine during Akanji’s injury so it would be nice to give them some more minutes and rest Akanji for UCL. Our fullback situation is similar, we can start the starters, but I’d like to see Toljan and Raph get some much needed playing time. Raph needs time to return to his peak form and Toljan isn’t a finished product yet. Both would not be risky choices against this Mainz side.
In the midfield we will see a combination of Witsel and either Delaney,Weigl or Dahoud as Favre has done for most of the year. Weigl struggled badly in out last outing against Bayern, suggesting he can’t play alongside Witsel or when fit teams press him. Dahoud looked great against Bayern so it may be best to award him the start. On the wings it would be nice to give Pulisic the start. He just had a exciting international week as the youngest ever USMNT captain and has been attached to a bevy of trade rumors. He needs a show of confidence from Favre even if he isn’t a better option then Reus or Sancho. Maybe he will even be allowed to start at the 10 if Favre doesn’t feel confident playing Phillip or Gotze there. Up front, we have to be getting Paco. He is fit to play and just signed his first contract with the club. He will surely get a rousing applause from the visiting away fans.
As for our game plan we need to be aggressive against Mainz. They are the third worst scoring team in the league with only 10 goals scored in 11 games. On the other hand they are the second best defensive team, tied with us for 12 goals. The rock of their defense is midfielder Jean-Phillpe Gbamin who has started every Bundeliga game for Mainz so far. Gbamin will make it tough for BVB to get through the middle of the field but with such impressive wingers like Reus in our squad, that should not be a problem. Their only real goal scoring threat is also a John-Phillipe, John-Phillipe Mateta. Mateta has three goals so far this season, so he is by no means as dangerous as anyone of Dortmunds attacking players. However its easy to let up silly mistakes against defensive sides and we are coming off a break. Hopefully Dortmund has no rust.
What do you think the starting lineup will be for the match?