Ah, a cup clash. The heightened atmosphere, the chance for silverware, and the knowledge that as long as Dortmund are not playing Werder Bremen, there should be some fun on the cards!
In this second Pokal match of the season, BVB will be looking for a strong performance despite the current injury crisis and will hope to shuffle the pack as much as possible with what players remain. A strong-ish win against Arminia Bielefeld should have settled some shattered nerves after the Ajax match, and Marco Rose may opt for some new faces to add a fresh look to his side.
FC Ingolstadt 04 are not a team we have seen in a while since they were relegated from the Bundesliga in 2017. After failing to follow up their stylish 2. Bundesliga title, the Bavarian club was bumped back down to Germany’s second tier. They would go on to fall into the 3. Liga before returning to the second division via the playoffs at the end of last season.
Ingolstadt bolstered their side with no less than eleven summer acquisitions, including a few loans from the ranks of FC Schalke and Monchengladbach. Despite this, they also boast nine injuries, one shy of BVB’s ten. As a result they sit dead last in the 2. Bundesliga with only one win eleven matches. That win was a 7-0 dismantling of FC Nurnberg, which I do not have any explanation for.
It is pretty bleak for Ingolstadt at the moment, and a challenge like Borussia Dortmund could not come at a worse time. On the other hand, they will know that Dortmund are currently a bit unsettled, and a win against a team notorious for conceding to weaker opponents could be just what they need to turn their season around.
It is really quite hard to say who we may see line up for BVB in this match. If Marco Rose has any sense at all in his salt-and-peppered head, he will recognize that he cannot afford to add any more injuries to his squad. Marco Reus has played 90 minutes in Dortmund’s last two matches. This is the third game for Dortmund in seven days, and if Reus is in the starting lineup, I will frankly be very angry about it. Reus’s importance on the field is clear, and the reason for having him out there is the same reason for not having him out there; so that he can assert that influence all season.
Beyond that, Marco Rose may opt to get some new faces on the pitch, and experiment with the depth he has at his disposal. I predict the team will look something like this.
It is possible we could see Tigges come in for Malen for this one, but I think Rose will want some experience up top. It may be a little early for the return of Dan-Axel Zagadou, but this could be a suitable game to ease the big Frenchman back into the side, and Mats Hummels could certainly use a break.
I would like to see BVB’s young guns go out and prove their merit to the head coach in this one. Look for Ansgar Knauff to terrorize the wings, hopefully finding Donny Malen for an easy tap in or two to boost his confidence. This feels like a great game for those two to play a little kick-and-run. Dortmund will need to avoid their typical complacency against smaller teams, but with a world-class center back like Big Pongo at the back, Dortmund should have the tools they need to rest their stars and get a result.
3-0. *typed anxiously*