Perhaps the international break served as a nice palette cleanser and helped you forget where things stood before, but let me ruin that and remind you that Borussia Dortmund are coming off consecutive losses (to Ajax and RB Leipzig) for the first time this season. BVB are hosting VFB Stuttgart at the weekend, hoping to return to winning ways, with some signs of a slightly healthier squad on the horizon.
Dortmund have so far made a habit of bouncing back from tough losses with solid wins against weaker opponents. Before the international break, they lost to Ajax (in large part thanks to a terrible refereeing decision), before facing an RB Leipzig side that have generally struggled against BVB. But after a grueling 60 minutes playing against a really good Ajax side with 10 men, and a long list of injuries, a tired Dortmund side struggled to impose themselves against Leipzig. They were beaten by a much better team.
Against Stuttgart, they’ll want to get back on track. Stuttgart have been having a particularly rough go of things lately, having lost their last three games, against Cologne (DFB-Pokal), Augsburg, and Arminia Bielefeld. They currently sit in 15th place, just one point above Augsburg in the relegation playoff spot. Since a 5-1 win over Greuther Furth to open the season, they’ve only recorded one win (against Hoffenheim), and this despite playing a reasonably forgiving schedule. Their xGD/90 suggests they’re currently underperforming, but they’re clearly a team out of form and ripe for the picking for someone like Borussia Dortmund. BVB should go into tomorrow’s game expecting nothing less than three points.
With both Rapha Guerreiro and Thomas Meunier fit again I think BVB will return to a back four. Emre Can, Youssoufa Moukoko, and Dan-Axel Zagadou should all be healthy enough to make the matchday squad, but it will come a little too soon for any of them to feature as a starter. There was some hope that Mahmoud Dahoud would be available as well, but he’s not ready yet. With all this in mind, I think there will be few changes to the lineup, and it will look as follows:
I think BVB will be more offensively fluid with Guerreiro back in the lineup, and as a result, they will get the job done with a little less drama than usual. I’m still not willing to make bold predictions like “Borussia Dortmund will go a game without conceding a stupid goal”, but I think they’ll win at least.
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 VfB Stuttgart