Borussia Dortmund are winless in their last three matches as they head to Stuttgart to pick up some much needed points in the Bundesliga. Every match is a must win for Die Schwarzgelben, who sit seven points behind Eintracht Frankfurt in the race for next season’s Champions League qualification. Dortmund put in a much-improved performance midweek against Manchester City in the first leg of the UCL quarterfinal tie, (not going to bring “it” up) and have given themselves a real shot to advance to the semifinals (still not going to bring “it” up).
Edin Terzic threw out a surprise selection midweek going with Ansgar Knauff for the City match, after impressing just before the international break with a brilliant ten minute cameo against Köln which included the assist for Erling Haaland’s equalizer. Will Terzic stick with the lineup from the City match? Here is how I see Dortmund lining up:
Given where Dortmund are in the table relative to where they were expected to be, I do not see Terzic rotating a lot for any match unless a player specifically deserves to start or be dropped. For this match I see BVB sticking to the 4-3-3 formation again, but Emre Can will be given a rest after his poor performance in England. Thomas Delaney should come in and patrol the area just in front of our best back four with Marwin Hitz remaining between the sticks. I expect club captain Marco Reus to play on the left with Knauff operating on the right once again with Erling Haaland leading the line once again. The 19 year-old German winger is not afraid to take defenders on and will be crucial in attacking Stuttgart’s wingbacks, as well as tracking back in putting in a shift when required.
Stuttgart come into this match only four points behind Dortmund in the table, comfortably sitting 8th in the Bundesliga and battling it out for a potential Europa League bid for next season. Having won three of the their last five matches, Stuttgart will be no easy task, as Dortmund found out in the reverse fixture where the club lost 1-5 at home and former Coach Lucien Favre was given the sack. Stuttgart play a tricky 3-4-3 formation with lots of energy and are particularly well coached by Italian-American Pellegrino Mattarazo, who is beginning to attract a lot of attention for his teams success this season. Here is how Stuttgart may lineup:
Stuttgart lost one of their best players for the season in Silas Wamangituka. The Congolese forward/wingback went down against Bayern Munich with a knee injury. Dortmund fans should remember Wamangituka well as two of his 13 goals in all competitions came in that shocking defeat over BVB. Sasa Kalajdzic is the danger man up top for Stuttgart, but do not count out the importance of the midfield pairing of Gonzalo Castro and Wataru Endo in particular. Endo is quietly having an incredible season for Stuttgart as he ranks fifth in progressive passes in the Bundesliga, and tops the league in tackles with 79, proving he is the complete midfielder. It will be crucial that Bellingham and Dahoud do not let Endo have time on the ball as he will most likely pick apart the Dortmund defense.
It feels like time for a win, and while I respect Stuttgart and what they have accomplished this season, I believe a midfield three with Delaney, Dahoud, and Bellingham should be able to stunt the passing of the Stuttgart midfield and create counters for Haaland. I suspect BVB pull out a rare clean sheet, with a 3-0 win.
What lineup and scoreline are you predicting for tomorrow’s match? Leave your thoughts below.