As the World Cup draws nearer, Borussia Dortmund have one last flurry of Bundesliga matches before they settle in for the long winter break. A Saturday, Tuesday, and then Friday match is quite a jammed schedule, but it’s unfortunately the hand that Dortmund have been given. Smack in the middle of that stretch is today’s match against Wolfsburg.
Despite some less-than-stellar play along the way, BVB have managed three wins in a row in the Bundesliga and will look to extend that streak today against Wolfsburg.
In an unusually competitive Bundesliga season, with many different clubs competing for spots in the top four, Wolfsburg have been stuck in second gear and are at risk of eliminating themselves from European competitions before the first half of the season is over. They currently sit in 11th place in the Bundesliga, six points behind Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League qualification spot. A win against BVB would be a massive help to their efforts.
Player to Watch: Ridle Baku
What’s BVB’s biggest squad weakness? Everybody say it at once: the full backs. Thomas Meunier is injured, and Raphael Guerreiro is weak defensively. The only saving grace is that Niklas Süle can fill in decently at right back. But we’ve got nobody like Ridle Baku.
Yannick Gerhardt, Maximilian Arnold, and Lucas Nmecha might be more potent offensive threats, but Ridle Baku is a complete player. He’s everything your team would want in a full back, to the point that BVB have reportedly been interested in him as a potential transfer target. Raphael Guerreiro will have his hands full against Baku. As a defender who likes to leave his defensive duties vacant, Guerreiro could find himself with Baku behind him in open space. As he showed over the weekend against Mainz, he’s more than capable of doing damage in open space:
Marco Reus has suffered yet another setback. He aggravated his ankle injury and has therefore not traveled to Wolfsburg. I’d really like Gio Reyna to start. He played well in his start against Bochum, so he deserves to start again. Niklas Süle should start at right back in Thomas Meunier’s absence, leaving Nico Schlotterbeck and Mats Hummels as the center-back pair. Other than that, it should be a fairly standard lineup for BVB with Donyell Malen on the wing opposite Reyna and Julian Brandt in attacking midfield.
Wolfsburg have struggled this year, so I’m predicting a 2-0 win for BVB today.