Tomorrow, Borussia Dortmund host everyone’s favorite post-Soviet club, Union Berlin. The East Berlin side were soccer’s Cinderella story of the 2022/23 season but, much like the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, are experiencing a bitter collapse. Urs Fischer’s side have been in freefall the past three weeks despite playing Champions League football for the first time ever. They have failed to win a game since matchday two, and despite their struggles, it’s hard to say why Union Berlin are struggling at the moment.
Over the summer they brought in several high-profile transfers that fit their ethos of ‘hard work, ugly people, good results’ in the form of Robin Gosens, Kevin Volland, Alexander Schwolow, and Leonardo Bonucci. Their past five games have seen them record 5 losses and a goal difference of -6, including a loss to everyone’s new favorite Cinderella story - FC Heidenheim. Berlin, who now find themselves in eleventh place, will be looking to turn their poor results around.
Still, Union Berlin will be a tough task for Edin Terzic and Borussia Dortmund simply because they feature eleven bodies that can stand in front of the goal. Dortmund are coming into the game following three straight Bundesliga victories but a poor showing at home against AC Milan where Dortmund failed to capitalize on their chances. While the team’s goalscoring ability have not been abysmal, they have been far from adequate for a team challenging for the title. The Black-and-Yellow have the 6th most goals in the Bundesliga with 12 from 6 matches, and all their forwards not named Donyell Malen have forgotten how to shoot. Despite this, Union Berlin have not recorded a clean sheet since their DFB Pokal victory against FCA Walldorf. This game will be a great chance to try some things in attack and, god willing, remember how to put the ball in the net.
Player to Watch: Robin Gosens
Gosens’ arrival in Berlin made headlines. It was a statement that the recently promoted club were spending their Champions League money in an effort to break into Germany’s elite. Fortunately for them, Gosens has looked great as a left wingback for them this season. The attacking fullback has essentially played as a winger for Union Berlin and is the focal point of their attack on the left side. He has 3 goals so far this season which is equal to Dortmund’s leading scorers, Malen and Reus. It will be up to Marius Wolf and company to keep Gosens in check.
I’m predicting Borussia Dortmund to look like this. Kobel will be in goal, with Marius Wolf on the righthand side and Ryerson as the left-back due to Bensebaini’s red card. I predict, hope, and pray, that Terzic has given up on the idea of playing Can alongside Ozcan. I was torn between Julian Brandt and Felix Nmecha alongside Ozcan but, after his outing on Wednesday, I am beginning to question if Nmecha is actually a footballer. I think it’s time the club shifts some things around up front and Terzic has reason to do so after the Champions League match. Reus will continue to start until his knees are dust and I hope to see Bynoe Gittens and Donyell Malen alongside him. Moukoko will get the start because Terzic has tried the other two strikers and might as well try the third.
1-0 Borussia Dortmund. This match is set up to be a stoppable force meeting a very movable object. I think Dortmund will be able to score but I’m not expecting fireworks. What are your thoughts on the match?