Finally the winter break is over. The break saw Dortmund sign Erling Haaland from RB Salzburg and the departure of Julian Weigl to Benfica. Replacing Weigl in the first team will be Gio Reyna, a young American who has shown well in the youth teams. For our game vs Augsburg, Haaland, Reus and Hazard are all probable, Delaney and Zagadou are questionable, and Paco Alcacer did not travel pending a transfer to Valencia.
Hopefully this team won’t be to rusty as they did play quite a few friendlies during the break. For starting lineup hopefully Favre sticks with a 3-4-3 that found him success in the end of the Hinrunde. Hummels, Akanji and Zagadou would be he ideal back 3. With Weigl gone we are a but thinner in the back but hopefully Balerdi can step in well on the back 3 if Zagadou is actually out. Witsel and Brandt will probably start for us in the midfield. Brandt as a CM is much more effective then any other way Favre has played him so far. The wingbacks should be Raph and Hakimi. Piz needs to be saved for the rougher part of the season coming up, where his veteran presence and leadership will be more valuable. Hopefully the front three is Sancho-Haaland-Reus but Hazard/Brandt or even Reyna may have to fill in depending on team fitness.
The last time we played Augsburg we beat them 5-1, with goals from Paco, Reus, Sancho and Brandt. While it was a blowout, Augsburg did score on us in the very first minute of the game. BVB have been lackadaisical in crucial moments all season. If this team truly wishes to compete in the second half of the season, a strong start is necessary. Augsburg are playing at about the standard you’d expect from their squad, currently sitting 10th on the Bundesliga table. Their recent for has been much stronger, finishing off the year with three wins and one loss. Still they have one of the worst defensive records in the league. GK Tomas Koubek has not inspired much confidence this year. While their backline have also been lacking, we can’t count out the threat of left back Phillip Max. Max has 6 goals so far this season all at the FB position. In the past he has played very well against BVB, memorably locking down Max Phillip then scoring a goal against us in the same game. Augsburg also poise a threat because they play to frustrate the opposing team. There have been 5 red cards so far in Augsburg games this season. BVB will have to be very aware of this and not get drawn into FCA’s mind games.
What do you think is the best lineup and game plan for FCA?