Happy early matchday, BVB fans! Dortmund host SC Freiburg for a Friday game to kick off Matchday 19 in the Bundesliga. We are past the halfway point of the season so every point counts as Dortmund look to hold their grip on second place and keep pace with Bayern in case of any slip-ups. After a tough game in Frankfurt, Dortmund will once again be challenged by one of the surprise packages of this Bundesliga season. Freiburg has quietly snagged third place in the league and held it until this past weekend. Typically a developmental team that ends up having its talent purged at the end of each season, the resident of the Black Forest has had a perfect storm of a year with young talents and veteran players creating a capable and hungry side. Long-time Bundesliga head coach Christian Streich is making fine us of the quality at his disposal.
Dortmund will be eager to have the support of an OVERWHELMING 750 FANS in the stands for this match, ready to put the uneven Ruckrunde firmly in the rearview mirror.
Marco Rose has been a bit coy in his pregame interviews about player availability, but it is for certain that we will not see the American Dream return to the squad just yet.
Marco Rose:— BVB Newsblog (@bvbnewsblog) January 13, 2022
"Yes, Manu is an option. We'll wait for the final training session today. [...] looks basically good up to here.
Gio Reyna will not play a role for the squad yet. [...] It's also too short for Zagadou. [...] Marius Wolf will be back."#BVB pic.twitter.com/sKFKE44NeK
Beyond that, the head coach has a strong crop of players at his disposal. I am going to be a bit optimistic and predict that Marco Rose, an avid reader of the comments section in Fear the Wall match observations (I’m sure), will take the suggestion we made and field a lineup like this.
We identified the threat Malen posed off the right wing against Frankfurt and the effect of Hazard’s introduction on the outcome of the match. Getting both of these players back on the field might create a tactical challenge for a defense that is missing its best center back, Nico Schlotterbeck. Guerreiro is questionable for the match as well, and I expect Wolf to slot into that role rather than Schulz.
Player to Watch
Vincenzo Grifo - 4 goals, 6 assists
The Italian wide midfielder has been in fine form this season, working in tandem with Christian Gunter to provide service from Freiburg’s left side. Grifo has been prolific laying on goals for teammates Lucas Holler and Jeong Woo-Yeong who each sit on four goals as well. Thomas Meunier will have his work cut out keeping Freiburg’s left flank quiet, as Grifo looks both to cross into the box or cut back to the top of the box where Jeong typically arrives with a late crashing run.
Dortmund should look to carry their momentum from Saturday's win back to their home stadium and have a strong squad ready to face one of the Bundesliga’s top sides this season. The loss of Schlotterbeck will really hurt Freiburg, as his pace and game awareness could have been a difference-maker against a player like Erling Haaland. Still, Freiburg has plenty of quality to push Dortmund to the final whistle. Let’s go for a wild one, 4-2 with a late, late goal to flatter the scoreline.