A month on from Dortmund’s capitulation to Stuttgart, BVB return to the sportscar capital of Germany for a renewed test. BVB’s last loss to high-flying Stuttgart came in the Bundesliga, as an extremely lackluster performance made one of the Bundesliga’s best side look like one of the world’s best sides. The onus will be on Edin Terzic to apply a new tactical outlook to his side, which absolutely must survive past this early round of the DfB Pokal to secure their berth in the knockouts.
On the back of a difficult visit to Leverkusen where Dortmund were lucky to escape with a point, Edin Terzic will need to decide if he will continue a defensive approach in an effort to stymie the potent Stuttgart attack, or change strategies to focus on ball retention, something BVB has struggled with mightily this season.
Stuttgart for their part have continued a fine run of form. They are unbeated in their last four home matches, having used the BVB match as a springboard to recover from their loss to Heidenheim. Since the beginning of November, it’s been nothing but wins for for Sebastian Hoeness’ side, and they will have BVB in their sights like a wounded deer.
It’s frustrating as a writer to draft up this section of the preview, because I want to be tactical and smart and say “oh what a dense run of games, the coach should look to rotate yada yada yada.” I give up on that. Expect the exact same eleven from Sunday. Sorry Gio, Mouki, et al.
Some players should be returning after their illness, with reports that Bensebaini, Süle, and Özcan trained on Monday. I expect Bensebaini to return to the starting eleven. Nico Schlotterbeck could desparately use a rest after a set of early substitutions, but I’m sure he will not get one.
Player to Watch: Serhou Guirassy
He’s back, and it’s like he never left. A small injury made Guirassy a doubt for BVB’s last game against Stuttgart, and he still managed to come on and score. This time around, Edin Terzic’s side will not be so lucky. Guirassy is fit and firing once again, meaning Stuttgart’s ace in the hole will be ready to send Dortmund packing if he is given the space to operate. Much has been said already about the prolific Guinean forward, who has burst onto the scene this season. He trails Harry Kane (who has made the best start to a Bundesliga season EVER) by only two goals in the league, and continues to impress and surprise German football pundits. Guirassy’s purple patch may come to and end, but his intelligence in and around the box suggest more than just a rich run of form. Guirassy makes himself an outlet to his teammates off the ball, working hard to both find space for shooting chances and crash loose balls in the box to apply calculated finishes.
Well. I would very much like Dortmund to progress to the next round of the DfB Pokal. Title holders RB Leipzig and many-title-havers Bayern Munich are out of the competition. In years past, you would say this tournament is Dortmund’s to lose. A position they regularly fumble. Let’s hope that’s not the case against Stuttgart.