Borussia Dortmund return to Bundesliga play this weekend to face 6th place VfL Wolfsburg. Having failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday, the heavily-injured BVB squad are hoping to rebound quickly and take three points against Wolfsburg before the Bayern match next weekend.
Wolfsburg enter the match in a mixed run of form, having won 3 of their last 5 competitive matches, but dropped points against Armenia Bielefeld and lost comprehensively to Sevilla in the Champions League. Manager Florian Kohfeldt typically lines his 11 up in a 3-4-3, allowing dangerous wing-backs Ridle Baku and Jerome Roussillon to run up and down the flanks freely. The formation also leads to plenty of crosses for their Dutch target man Wout Weghorst to head into the back of the net. Weghorst’s strength in the air will certainly be a point of emphasis for a BVB side that has struggled at times to deal with set-pieces.
Dortmund’s lineup will once again change due to injury, with Jude Bellingham having picked up a knock against Sporting Lisbon. Luckily, it’s not all bad news this week, as Marco Rose announced that there will be several returns to the squad, including Erling Haaland, Marius Wolf, and Youssouffa Moukoko. Haaland is obviously the most significant name coming back, but in all likelihood, he will be reduced to a substitute role at best tomorrow. Regardless, having Erling back in the squad should have a positive effect on the team.
With so many injuries to the squad at the moment, it seems fairly likely that Rose will have to run with something similar to the formation and personnel he used in Lisbon. Bellingham won’t be available, so he’s in all likelihood have to turn to Emre Can despite his mid-week blunder. Some potential personnel changes in the attack could see Brandt replaced for either Steffen Tigges or Ansgar Knauff, but it seems unlikely that either of them would get the start against such a high-level opponent. An alternative to this formation would be a 3-4-3 with either Pongracic or Zagadou taking up one of the midfield spots in defense.
Without Jude Bellingham, Raphael Guerreiro, or Erling Haaland for the majority of this match, it’s going to be a difficult one for Borussia Dortmund to win. Unless Julian Brandt is able to have an incredibly creative day, I can’t see this squad creating too many chances when they’re not on the counter. That said, I think they’ll be able to get over the line with a draw against a Wolfsburg side that has also had their fair share of struggles up until this point in the season.
Borussia Dortmund 2-2 VfL Wolfsburg