A mere eleven days after a narrow 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, Borussia Mönchengladbach will have a chance to exact some revenge on BVB, this time in the second round of the DFB Pokal.
Not much has changed since the two Borussias met ten days ago in Dortmund. Gladbach bounced back with a win in Europe and in the Bundesliga. Despite losing to BVB, Gladbach remain on top of the table thanks to an impressive win over Eintracht Frankfurt this past Sunday. The foals found the back of the net four times, with Nico Elvedi, Oscar Wendt, Marcus Thuram, and Denis Zakaria each scoring once. The Thursday before, in the Europa League, Mönchengladbach also travelled to Italy. A day after BVB’s defeat at the hands of Inter Milan, Gladbach faced Roma in the Italian capital, and played them to a 1-1 draw, with captain Lars Stindl scoring a last-minute penalty to bring the Germans level.
Since beating Mönchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund have returned to their winless ways, losing to Inter Milan and drawing against Schalke in the intervening time. Lucien Favre tried to tinker with his squad formation by switching to a 3-4-3 against Inter Milan, and then back to a 4-2-3-1 against Schalke. Despite significant differences in formation and squad selection, the result in each game was the same. BVB struggled to create anything through the center of the pitch and were pressed against the touchline, where they were unable to progress the ball downfield. Held goalless in both games, BVB were soundly defeated by Inter Milan, and if it weren’t for Schalke striking the post twice, BVB would have lost to the Smurfs instead of escaping Gelsenkirchen with a draw.
How will BVB line up against Mönchengladbach?
In goal, it looks like Marvin Hitz will start again, with Roman Bürki still recovering from an injury he suffered the last time BVB faced Gladbach. Achraf Hakimi has looked very good over the past month, but he was poor against Schalke, so we may see Raphäel Guerreiro or Nico Schulz at left back. At center back, expect Mats Hummels and either Julian Weigl or Manuel Akanji. I’d suspect the latter, who played fewer minutes this weekend against Schalke.
Author’s note: Unfortunately, now comes that part of the article where I have to slip into fantasy world and entertain the possibility of anybody other than Delaney and Witsel starting in midfield.
Imagine Mahmoud Dahoud finally getting a chance to prove that he has a role to play in BVB’s midfield. Imagine Julian Weigl moving into midfield, a move which worked somewhat in the final minutes against Schalke. Imagine Julian Brandt finally seeing time as a #8, a position in which thrived with Bayer Leverkusen.
Imagine all the people, sharing all the world.
In attack, expect more of the same from Borussia Dortmund. With Paco Alcacer still out, BVB will probably have to go with either Mario Götze or Julian Brandt leading the line. Götze did injure his arm against Schalke, but he might still be able to play. Thorgan Hazard, Marco Reus, and Jadon Sancho are also likely to start, despite their recent struggles.
I predicted Inter Milan’s 2-0 victory against BVB, so I have a streak to defend. Cup ties tend to be even more tight than regular season matches, so I’m expecting another close match between these two sides. BVB do have the edge in terms of talent and will be on home soil, so I’m predicting another 1-0 victory, with the winning goal coming from Thorgan Hazard.