Before Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to Ajax, everyone would have gone into this weekend’s game against Arminia Bielefeld expecting Dortmund to win, but not placing a ton of significance on this particular game. Having suffered a total dismantling at the hands of the Dutch champions, fans are now expecting a statement from Borussia Dortmund. They want to see the team respond and show a bit of fight. The kind of fight they seemed to totally lack on Tuesday.
The good news for BVB is that, theoretically at least, Arminia Bielefeld should present a significantly weaker resistance than Ajax did. Bielefeld are currently sitting in 17th place, having drawn five and lost three so far this season, including a 4-0 hammering by Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the month. They’ve scored a grand total of four goals so far this season, and no one in their squad has managed to get more than one goal in the league yet. On paper Bielefeld are the kind of challenge that BVB need to cleanse the palette after an embarrassing performance.
Of course, that’s also the exact kind of game that Borussia Dortmund have a way of making extremely difficult for themselves. If there’s any lesson that BVB fans should have learned by now, it’s that taking any opponent lightly is a mistake. Dortmund have the capacity to beat absolutely anyone in the world. They also have the capacity to lose to almost anybody too, and they’ve definitely got in their locker to drop a real stinker and struggle against Bielefeld.
But the players promised a response after the stinker they dropped against Ajax. So that’s exactly what we should expect. They have got to put that terrible performance behind them and beat Bielefeld comfortably.
I had already come up with my expected lineup for tomorrow’s game, and it was a couple minor tweaks that would hopefully give the team a little more impetus. Then Marco Rose said the following:
Marco Rose:— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) October 22, 2021
“Thomas Meunier won't be able to play, Nico Schulz has a torn hamstring and Erling Haaland won't play and will be absent for a few weeks with a hip flexor injury."
So here I am, with absolutely no idea what to expect tomorrow. I know that every fanbase is eternally convinced that they suffer so many injuries and that no one else has anywhere near as much bad luck as they do (same applies to refereeing), and for the most part, these beliefs are grounded in absolutely zero evidence. By and large, that applies to BVB just the same. This season, however, we’ve genuinely had some really rotten luck. The team just can’t seem to stay healthy right now. With that in mind, this is my complete guess at tomorrow’s lineup.
I have absolutely no confidence in this at all. Is this what we’re going to see? I dunno, probably not. It could be anything though. Maybe we’ll see a back three, with Pongracic coming in, and they’ll let Hazard have a crack at wing back, with either Wolf or Passlack (preferably Wolf) loose on the other flank. What I do know is that we’re going to be forced to rely on Donyell Malen to deliver the goods, when it is clear that he still needs time to settle in. That sucks for him and for BVB. But at least Bielefeld are going to have a hard time scoring... Right?
I’m expecting BVB to come out firing, but given the fact they’re having to put together a starting eleven made out of the leftover scraps from this injury crisis, I’m not really sure how that is going to look. If Hazard and Reus are fit and firing, I think they can provide the impetus to help Malen find the net, but things could just as easily look very, very disjointed.
Nonetheless, I think BVB should have just enough to get the job done. I’m going for a Dortmund 2-1 victory, because even a team with four goals to their name so far this season can score against BVB.