Borussia Dortmund travels to Werder Bremen this Saturday needing a win to keep their slim chances of lifting the Bundesliga title alive with only three matches left in the 2018-19 season. The squad should be itching for a positive rebound after their embarrassing performance against Schalke in the last Saturday’s Revierderby. However, thanks to a fluke draw by Bayern against Nürnburg, there’s a dash of hope remaining that Dortmund can win out and claim its first league title since 2011-12.
BVB will be looking on some players that don’t usually start to play big roles in the next few games, mostly because of the red-card suspensions handed out to Reus (2 games) and Wolf (3 games) along with injuries. This may mean we see players like Pulisic starting, and players like Bruun Larsen getting serious minutes in a fight to keep pace with Bayern.
Despite not having Reus in the line-up, I feel Götze can do a serviceable job from further up the field if Favre wants to roll out the standard 4-2-3-1 on Saturday. I’m more concerned, however, about the back four. Wolf’s three-match suspension, coupled with the lack of a confirmation over the availability of Piszczek, leaves Dortmund in a tricky spot. If the Polish fullback can play, that means Akanji stays at his natural centerback position, which is great because Akanji is a beast. If he can’t go, Akanji could slide over into the spot and Toprak would probably play alongside Weigl in the center with Diallo on the left. There’s also the option of BVB II right back Herbert Bockhorn getting the nod for his Bundesliga debut. I doubt Favre goes for an inexperienced player this late into the season in a title race, but you never know.
Currently sitting in ninth on 46 points, Bremen has been battling for a spot in next year’s Europa League all year long and were a BS penalty call from playing in the DFB-Pokal final, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly in the slightest. Since the beginning of the Rückrunde, Die Grün-Weißen has only lost twice (1-0 v. Bayern and 4-1 v. Düsseldorf), so they’ve proven that their performance in the beginning of the year was no accident and that Florian Kohfeldt is the perfect man for Bremen. Max Kruse (11 goals, 10 assists) will be the one to pull the strings for Bremen’s offense, with players like Milot Rashica (8 goals) and Davy Klaasen (5 goals, 5 assists) doing more than enough to give this team an attacking bite.
Prediction: 2-1 win
Given the circumstances coming into Saturday’s fixture (the players missing, the opponent, the table, etc.), this may be Dortmund’s most important match of the season. They need to win out, plus have some lucky results elsewhere, if they want a shot at the title. Even with the players not available through injury or suspensions, one would think the title race and the embarrassment from last Saturday would motivate the squad to overcome adversity and pull out a win against a difficult opponent. This will be a nailbiter to the end, but I’m confident in the Black and Yellow earning those three points.