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Match Preview: Dortmund Concludes Season at Hoffenheim

Last game of the year, can’t hold anything back now!

Atalanta v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Europa League Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

The conclusion of the 2017-18 season is here as Borussia Dortmund heads to the Rhein-Neckar-Arena to take on fourth-place Hoffenheim on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

This is it, the last game of the year, and it’s on the road against Hoffenheim. I for one can’t wait… for this game and season to be over. There’s been so many times during the year, watching this team sputter on offense while looking clueless on defense, that I wanted to give up and watch something else. But no matter how badly we’ve looked this season, we’re still in a position to qualify for Champions League, and in the grand scheme of things there’s plenty of other teams who would love to be in our position.

It’s an interesting shape, that’s for sure. And the right side of that back-line certainly looks… interesting. I wouldn’t have gone with Castro at fullback or Pisz at center back, but I guess that’s what happens when your top centerback is suspended on card accumulation, and your other two centerbacks are injured. Also, why Castro? Is Stöger going to forget Toljan exists again?

I guess that also means no Roman Weidenfeller in the final game of the season, which is bloody stupid if you ask me. Is he the best keeper on the team? No, but he’s been a loyal servant of the club since 2002 and I guess a fool like Stöger is cool with not allowing a man like that to get the nod in goal one last time.

Look, I haven’t been a fan of Borussia Dortmund long enough to understand the significance of Weidenfeller’s accomplishments, but you don’t say he’s going to play one of the two remaining games and then not play him at all. That’s a real scummy thing to do, but I guess I can expect that from someone who clearly doesn’t see himself as part of the club’s future.

A loss by a bad-enough margin could see us move out of Champions League qualification entirely. Dortmund have an advantage of three points on both Hoffenheim and Leverkusen, but hold a goal differential advantage of three over Hoffenheim and six over Leverkusen. With Leverkusen playing Hannover, a bad enough loss by us and a large enough win by them could see both teams leap-frog Dortmund for the two Champions League spots and banish Dortmund to the hellscape that is Europa League.

Not only will a spot in Champions League and personal pride be on the line Saturday, but for a lot of the Germans on our squad, it’s one of the last chances to make an impression on Jogi Löw to be selected for the World Cup roster.

As for Hoffenheim, they’re on a pretty decent run of form despite losing to Stuttgart 2-0 last time out. Winners of three straight prior to the loss, I’m sure they’re looking for a dash of revenge for the 2-1 defeat we handed them at the end of the Hinründe. Look for Mark Uth, Adrej Kramaric, and a dash of Serge Gnabry to be the main attackers for a wounded Dortmund backline to attempt to contain.

I’ll take a 1-1 draw, I just want this season to be over already.