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Game Preview: Dortmund Looks to Right The Ship Against Werder Bremen

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We must bounce back

Werder Bremen - Borussia Dortmund Photo by Carmen Jaspersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund enters the post-Lucien Favre era on Tuesday when they travel on short rest for a suddenly important Bundesliga match against Werder Bremen. I call this a suddenly important match because it will be the first match after a humiliating 5-1 defeat to Stuttgart over the weekend, and this will be the first match as manager for caretaker and former BVB assistant Edin Terzic.

With the exception of Gio Reyna and maybe Roman Burki, BVB looked absolutely abysmal on Saturday as they were outplayed and outcoached for nearly the entire 90 minutes. They were pressed into oblivion, giving up goal after goal in such a short period of time, whenever Dortmund possessed the ball or attempted to play out of the back, and Stuttgart knew exactly where and how to dissect them when Dortmund was in defense. Sean wrote an excellent analysis of how Stuttgart pressed Dortmund into turnovers and scoring chances, and the tactical/management deficiencies Favre laid bare on Saturday that allowed the demolition to continue without much personnel or formation changes, aside from making three subs in the 85th minute when the result was all but definite.

Favorites for relegation after surviving last season’s relegation playoff with Heidenheim, Werder Bremen currently sit 13th with 11 points. They haven’t recorded a win since October 3 against Arminia Bielefeld and have gone three consecutive matches without a point. There isn’t much positive to say about Bremen as they have looked very poor this season, unless you are watching exclusively for Reyna and fellow USMNT player Josh Sargent. Still Bremen have showed up well against tougher opponents, squeezing a point from Bayern a few weeks ago, so they have be shown respect.

With the amount of players missing at key positions, there isn’t much Dortmund and Terzic can do in terms of rotating out the players that played poorly. I would switch to a back-four and move Can into the midfield, as I feel a pairing of Witsel-Bellingham lacks ferocity that Can brings every match. He seems more suited to a roaming midfielder that can contribute in attack, which suits his playstyle better as he has been caught out of position bringing the ball into the attack from his center-back position numerous times this year. Perhaps this is also an opportunity to give Moukoko a start, as Reus has looked very poor this year and it can’t hurt to see what Moukoko can do with more minutes.

Prediction

Honestly, I have no idea how this match is going to go. Aside from an emergency against Hoffenheim in the 2018/19 Ruckrunde, Terzic has never managed a first team match before, so we don’t know what kind of formation preference or tactics he will bring to the field, and this Dortmund squad is coming into this match on the heels of their worst performance as a team in years. They could either rebound from the loss and play with fire and passion against a weaker opponent, or they can continue looking lost in the attack and vulnerable in defense against a team looking to further the misery. I’m going to be optimistic here and predict a tight 1-0 win with Gio Reyna scoring the lone goal, continuing his fine run of form for the club.