Who’s ready to forget about last weekend?
It’s a new day, a new match and it’s only Round 4 of the Bundesliga. Borussia Dortmund will travel to Berlin to face Hertha, a fixture that saw BVB defeated 2-3 last December. Matches in the Olympiastadion are rarely dull, containing goals aplenty- an average of 5 goals scored in each of Dortmund’s last four visits. It’s hard to imagine that trend disappearing anytime soon.
Several years of horrendous mismanagement, and a revolving door of team managers left Hertha on the brink of Relegation last season, only staying in the Bundesliga by defeating Hamburg in a two-legged playoff. Hertha Berlin has had an abysmal start to their season with a Round 1 German Cup defeat to 2.Bundesliga side Eintracht Braunschweig. Their poor cup performance has been followed up by a loss to rival club Union Berlin, a draw at home against Frankfurt and another loss against Borussia Monchengladbach. Hertha will be seeking their first win of the season.
While the match against Freiburg was a masterclass in tactical substitutions, last weekend’s defeat exemplified that a super-sub does not necessarily translate into a strong starting performance. I think we will see several changes from the side that started against Bremen. I predict that both Marius Wolf and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens will be dropped to the bench in favor of Thorgan Hazard and Thomas Meunier respectively. Wolf brings an intense energy to the pitch every time he comes on, but he seems to be much more impactful from the bench when the team needs that injection of fresh energy. JBG- love the kid and I hope he keeps improving… Not ready to start yet. Meunier is a tricky pick because of the bizarre transfer rumors that surfaced this week, but they’re just that: rumors.
Although I’d rather see Gio Reyna on the wing, I think Terzic is still treating the young American’s fitness with caution- I don’t think he’ll be ready to start either. I also predict that Anthony Modeste will be dropped in favor of Youssoufa Moukoko. Moukoko has looked great coming off the bench recently and it’s becoming obvious that Modeste needs more time to mesh with the squad. I think he will be used as a substitute this time around. I anticipate Niklas Sule will return to the starting eleven as well.
Donyell Malen is out for another 7-10 days. Mats Hummels should be fit after shaking off a knock, and Karim Adeyemi has returned to training; both will likely be options from the bench. Mamoud Dahoud subbed out last week after dislocating his shoulder and his status remains in question, but Mo’s a tough guy and I think that if he’s available, Terzic will use him. Dahoud was sorely missed after being forced off in the 18th minute last weekend. If Dahoud is out, perhaps we will see Özcan start? Dare I predict the debut of Salih Özcan?
Players to Watch: Jonjoe Kenny and Wilfried Kanga.
BVB were not the only busy club in the recent/current Transfer Window. The 25-year-old English right Back Jonjoe Kenny joined Hertha in June from Premier League side Everton. The former Schalke player will likely make life difficult for Dortmund’s right attacking flank. Hertha BSC also snapped up French striker Wilfried Kanga on a free transfer from the Swiss Champions, Young Boys. Kanga scored 19 in 44 appearances for the Young Boys but has yet to find the back of the net for his new club. He will be looking for his first Bundesliga goal.
Though recent performances have left Dortmund looking mediocre at best, I do have reason to be optimistic. This is just my humble opinion, but Hertha Berlin is the worst side in recent memory to consistently stay above the drop. They would have been relegated last season if a certain Black and Yellow team had managed an away victory. Those three points proved vital in Hertha’s Bundesliga survival. It won’t be pretty... it’s never pretty in Berlin... but I believe Dortmund will win this game 3-2.
I would hate to see Hertha’s 1 point double or even quadruple this weekend.
What are your thoughts?
- Will Modeste be dropped to the bench after underperforming?
- Will we finally see Salih Özcan?
- What scoreline do you predict?
- Is Hertha a trash team?