It’s a strange notion that a Bundesliga Battle of the Borussias™ could be practically meaningless, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in. BVB are all but out of the title race, but almost guaranteed a spot in the top four. Gladbach are almost certainly safe from relegation, but are nowhere near the European qualification spots. That leaves almost nothing to play for tomorrow.
With the title race an afterthought, my feelings towards the rest of the season are pretty ambivalent. I’ll take anything that shows me there’s anything at this club worth caring about moving forward. With hardly any stakes for the league table, I’m mostly hoping for an entertaining match with lots of goals, and hopefully a Dortmund win.
Thankfully, the way these two clubs defend, the odds of a high-scoring match are pretty high. Mönchengladbach have conceded a mind-boggling 40 goals through 22 games this season. Dortmund are hardly better, having conceded 36 goals in the same amount of time. The reverse fixture in the fall was a rare low-scoring event, in which Gladbach clawed out a 1-0 win following a red card to Mahmoud Dahoud:
Since this match, the situation has significantly worsened for Gladbach. They lost one of their top players, Denis Zakaria, to Juventus during the January Transfer Window. They lost the driving force behind the entire club when Sporting Director Max Eberl stepped down from his role for unspecified reasons. Alassane Pléa, who is supposed to be one of Gladbach’s top goalscorers, only has four so far this season, and has been relegated to a substitute role in recent weeks. Adi Hütter, the beleaguered new manager, is at the very end of his leash, and is probably one of the top candidates in the Bundesliga to be sacked.
All this is to say that they’ll probably whip Dortmund 4-1 tomorrow.
Even at full strength, BVB have trouble keeping the ball out of their own net. Unfortunately, tomorrow Dortmund will be without two of their best defensive players: Manuel Akanji and Thomas Meunier. Erling Haaland, who has missed the last few weeks with a muscle injury, will also not be available. This leaves a fairly depleted squad to face the Foals:
Even though Hummels and Zakaria both struggled against Rangers on Thursday, with Akanji out and few other options in the squad, they will have to make do at center back, unless Rose wants to try playing Witsel or Emre Can on the back line. Playing Donyell Malen and Marco Reus up top would be the best of a series of bad options with Haaland out.
Given how things have been going, we’ll probably win 4-0, get excited for Thursday, and get smoked again at the Ibrox. There, that’s my prediction.