A penalty from Mats Hummels on the edge of the box, a red card for Ramy Bensebaini and a wonderful solo goal from Julian Ryerson. Borussia Dortmund’s last match against TSG Hoffenheim was one to remember. Dortmund eventually clinched the game 1-3, but on Wednesday, Pellegrino Matarazzo’s men will have their chance at revenge against the Black-and-Yellows when the two teams clash in Der DFB Pokal at Der Westfalenstadion. For Dortmund, it’s a very tough draw against a Hoffenheim side in good form. The Sinsheim-based club is travelling to the Ruhr District with a fresh 2-3 win against VfB Stuttgart, who we all know have been lighting up the Bundesliga this year. A tough task is ahead of Terzic in terms of prioritizing the Pokal match or Der Klassiker against Bayern on Saturday.
As I just mentioned, I think Terzic will need to really weigh his options. Does he want a higher chance of advancing in the Pokal with a strong starting XI, or does he want to rest certain players for a higher chance of taking points off Bayern? Terzic’s pragmatic approach to football has led me to believe that he’ll line up as follows.
So basically, I think Terzic will field his strongest possible lineup with one exception. I think an experienced player like Füllkrug will be handy against Bayern, and Moukoko has kinda sorta earned something at this point, right? My thought process is as follows. Let’s say Dortmund have a 35% chance of taking points off Bayern with their strongest XI, split into 25% for a draw and 10% for a win. Those odds aren’t really favorable, and let’s be honest—Terzic and co. have a lot higher chance at winning the Pokal than the league. In the big picture, I don’t think taking points off Bayern is gonna matter in terms of the league outcome anyway. So therefore, Terzic should, if he’s as cold and calculated as I think, lean towards bettering his odds in the Pokal with a strong starting XI against Hoffenheim. Maybe the players have the fitness to play 2x90 minutes in the span of four days, and then this whole discussion wouldn’t matter. But if you are to perform optimally, I don’t think three days of restitution is quite enough.
Player to Watch: Maximillian Beier
Trust me when I say, that this now 21-year old striker is gonna get a Germany call-up in a not so distant future. The young Maximillian Beier has managed six goals and two assists in nine outings for Hoffenheim this season. He’s a tall, technically gifted striker who does resemble a certain Robert Lewandowski quite a bit. He’s scarily fast (like, Haaland fast), and at the same time, he’s a finisher inside the opposition’s box. If the Dortmund defense—especially the fullbacks—are to keep Beier from scoring on Wednesday night, they’ll have to do much better than they did against Omar Marmoush and Frankfurt on Sunday.
Let me start off by saying I don’t think Dortmund will keep Hoffenheim from scoring. Hoffenheim haven’t been held to zero since April (1-0 loss to Leipzig), and while Terzic has managed to stabilize the Dortmund defense, there are still big question marks over the wide areas especially. With that out of the way, I still think Dortmund are gonna win it. I’m very skeptical of the way we’re playing at the moment, but our home advantage coupled with a strong starting XI should get us across the line. 2-1 for Dortmund.