Fresh off a 2-0 home win over Zenit St. Petersburg in UEFA Champions League, Borussia Dortmund returns to Bundesliga competition as they take on newly promoted Arminia Bielefeld. After two consecutive home matches (vs. Schalke and Zenit), Dortmund will be heading to SchücoArena in Bielefeld, a short 48 minute trip from Dortmund.
Dortmund have shaken off an early Bundesliga defeat to Augsburg and have reeled off three consecutive clean sheet victories to put themselves behind Leipzig and Bayern for third. Last time out against Schalke, Dortmund were in control from start to finish and prevailed 3-0 after their disappointing loss to Lazio. They continued to look strong against Zenit, and I want to see that confidence and control over their opponent extended to Saturday’s match.
Bielefeld are back in the Bundesliga after an 11-year absence from the German top flight. They’ve survived being relegated to the third division and a long spell in the second division to become 2. Bundesliga champions. I’m sure they’ve got some good pieces in Bielefeld, but they’ve only scored four goals to start the season and have been beaten 7-2 in their last three matches. They do not look like a good team, and this should be an easy win.
‘Should’ being the very key word.
I want to write off Bielefeld because they’re entering this match on three consecutive losses after earning four points in their first two matches, but Dortmund are coming off a very intense Revierderby over the weekend and a difficult win over Zenit in Champions League, and they’ve been known to play down to their opposition numerous times to disastrous results. We could see some rotation or even more relaxed play against an “inferior” opponent. And if either of those things happen to Dortmund, they could find themselves in big trouble.
As for a starting XI, I see Favre sticking with the back four simply due to a lack of centerbacks outside of Hummels and Akanji, plus the change to a traditional full-back set-up has led to some of Meunier’s best performances in a BVB kit. In midfield, I want to see a Bellingham-Dahoud pairing; I haven’t been impressed all that much with Witsel this year, plus I think Dahoud is playing some of his best football for Dortmund since he first signed here in 2017. In the attack, I wouldn’t be against seeing Sancho-Brandt-Hazard in there, since I want to see young Reyna get some rest. And the Norwegian goal-scoring robot Haaland starts at center forward.
As much as I’m expecting Dortmund to walk into this one and expect a victory, I don’t think we’ll see the usual disasterclass against a relegation candidate like we have in recent memory (the 3-3 draw against Paderborn immediately comes to mind). I think the consecutive Bundesliga wins plus the win over Zenit will motivate the club to keep up the good league results as the top of the table is incredibly close. I’m predicting a 3-0 win in favor of BVB.