Last week on Instagram, Jude Bellingham stressed that these last seven Bundesliga games can be considered seven finals, and I couldn’t agree more. When Borussia Dortmund travel to Stuttgart on Saturday afternoon, anything but three points will be considered a huge failure. The best thing the Black-and-Yellows can do at this point is to focus on their own games one by one. I don’t expect Dortmund to go on a seven game winning streak towards the end of the season, but I really don’t expect Bayern to that either. The final phase of the season starts tomorrow, and there’s everything to play for.
I personally consider Stuttgart to be one of the weakest teams in the Bundesliga, and a look at the table can confirm my statement. Die Roten currently find themselves in 16th place, just two points above Schalke in 18th and one point above Bochum in 17th. For the first time since this season began, Stuttgart have managed to win two games in a row, and the timing is great for a team that is seriously relegation threatened.
Another thing I’ve realized while looking through Stuttgart’s match history is, that they haven’t managed to beat a “big” team in the league this entire season. Stuttgart’s wins in the Bundesliga have been against Augsburg, Hertha, Köln and Bochum. If you believe in such statistics, things are looking very bright for Dortmund going in to tomorrow’s match.
Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle are both out for tomorrow. Julien Duranville and Mateu Morey are still not match fit, but other than that, Terzic has everything to work with.
Different things can be done with a lot of players available, but I would personally field this lineup. Hummels and Can are given, as both of our other center backs are out. Newly awarded Bundesliga player of the month Guerreiro could drop into the left back role, but he has shown a lot of promise in midfield as of late. Although I trust Özcan more in a deep role like this (instead of a role as an 8 as seen against Leipzig), he hasn’t done much lately to earn himself a starting spot. A quick look at Understat tells me that Stuttgart aren’t exactly born goal scorers, and in a game like this, offense might just be the best defense for BVB - especially because Hummels can get toasted against fast players like Tiago Tomas or Silas.
I feel kinda bad for Moukoko at this point, because he really does deserve a start. Haller is just really good at certain things, and he gives Dortmund some security in possession with his ability to hold up play and win aerial duels. If Moukoko starts over Haller, I wouldn’t mind it that much.
Player to watch: Not really anyone, but...
Although no player has really stood out for VfB Stuttgart this season, there are other factors in play. Dortmund are of course playing for a title, but Stuttgart are playing for something equally important; not getting relegated. We can expect the Stuttgart-players to run — literally for their lives, and after all, we drew against Schalke, so why shouldn’t we be able to draw against Stuttgart too?
I really mean it when I say I consider Stuttgart to be not-that-good. They haven’t shown any ability to fight off big teams this year, and with Dortmund playing for the last trophy possible this season, we can expect the players to give everything (or can we?).
I predict a 4-1 win for BVB.