Competitive football is back! It might be a first-round match in the DFB Pokal against 1860 Munich, a 3. Liga opponent, but it is the first match with a major trophy on the line for Borussia Dortmund in roughly 10 weeks, and the first step in a long journey that will hopefully culminate next Spring in Berlin, with Marco Reus hoisting the Pokal Trophy to the sky.
But every step to that point will have to be earned, be it against the strongest opponents in Germany or the underdogs in the lower leagues. Coming off two consecutive defeats in preseason, and with the squad reeling from Sebastien Haller’s diagnosis, Borussia Dortmund find themselves already in a cloud of doubt. A win, even one against lowly 1860 Munich, could help get the squad back on track and ready to face Bayer Leverkusen on August 6th.
1860 Munich’s season in the 3. Liga has already gotten underway with a 4-3 victory over Dynamo Dresden on Saturday. In a match that might be more of a bellwether for what to expect tomorrow, 1860 Munich were steamrolled by Borussia Monchengladbach 6-0 when the two clubs faced off in a friendly earlier in July. Hopefully, Dortmund can achieve a similarly one-sided result tomorrow and get their season off to a good start.
The squad that took to the pitch against Hertha Berlin 10 weeks ago on the final day of the Bundesliga season has undergone a massive overhaul over the summer. Roman Burki, Dan-Axel Zagadou, and Erling Haaland are gone, and a host of new arrivals have taken their place. While BVB fans will have to wait to see Salih Özcan and Sébastien Haller take to the pitch, Nico Schlotterbeck, Niklas Süle, and Karim Adeyemi should be ready to join the squad.
We really haven’t gotten a good idea yet of how exactly Edin Terzic will set up the squad, so this represents more of what I would want rather than what I actually expect. I think Malen and Adeyemi have the potential to work well together as a front pairing with Marco Reus playing behind them. I also think that a back three of Schlotterbeck, Hummels, and Süle offers the most defensive coverage while unlocking Thomas Meunier and Raphael Guerreiro and allowing those two to play further forward.
I’d be the pessimist of all pessimists if I didn’t predict a win tomorrow, so I’ll predict a nice and easy 3-0 win. As underwhelming as the squad looked against its two Spanish opponents over the last few weeks, there’s a very obvious gulf of talent between those two opponents and 1860 Munich. There really is no reason for anything other than a comfortable victory.