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Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund Battle Local Rivals Bochum and the Plague

Sickness spreads amongst the Dortmund as they prepare for their first home match of 2024.

VfL Bochum 1848 v VfB Stuttgart - Bundesliga Photo by Ralf Ibing - firo sportphoto/Getty Images

It’s Borussia Dortmund’s first home match of 2024! After putting up two dominant wins in away games, Dortmund now face VFL Bochum in what could be a sneakily tricky encounter. With Schalke hovering above the relegation zone in the 2. Bundesliga, this is as close as we will get to a Revierderby for the next couple of decades. Bochum come into this game with a bit of steam after beating Stuttgart at home last weekend. Die Unabsteigbaren (the unrelegatables) find themselves in fourteenth place and a healthy nine points above the relegation zone. So far this season, they have picked up points against Dortmund, Leipzig, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart but face a much harder task in Dortmund. Bochum's best goalscorer, Takuma Asano, is on international duty with Japan, Other notable absentees include Keven Schlotterbeck and Bernardo, who was their MOTM against Stuttgart.

It is Dortmund’s game to lose but the squad is thinner than usual as several key figures are battling a mysterious flu. Captain Trips (That’s a literature reference) has claimed several of Dortmund’s star players including Julian Brandt, Marco Reus, and Gregor Kobel and they are set to miss tomorrow’s match. Mats Hummels only recently returned from his own bout with the plague and is still questionable for tomorrow’s match. While Terzic’s squad might be thin, they should still have enough pieces to win the game.

Player to Watch: Kevin Stoger

VfL Bochum 1848 v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

With Takuma Asano out injured, Bochum’s player to watch is all-action Austrian midfielder, Peter Kevin Stoger. The 30-year-old’s stats are very impressive with 5.74 shot-creating actions per game, 8.85 progressive passes, and 2.20 progressive carries per game. He has been monumental for Bochum this year and with eight goal involvements this season, he will be looking to add more against Dortmund.

Predicted Lineup: 4-2-3-1

I’m predicting Terzic’s usual 4-3-3/4-2-3-1. With several of Dortmund’s players sick, I am expecting a bit of rotation. Meyer will start in goal and I expect Mats Hummels will be rushed back into the starting lineup alongside the regulars. We might see late substitution appearances from Mateo Morey. I predict Sabitzer and Ozcan will start at the base of midfield. With Reus and Brandt both out sick, it would be an ideal time to play Giovanni Reyna. The American midfielder, however, is looking to leave the club so I expect Jadon Sancho to play in the number 10 role alongside Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Donyell Malen in attack. I’m optimistic so I put Moukoko up top but I think it’s closer to a 50/50 if he’ll actually start.

Prediction

I have made well over two dozen of these predictions since becoming a writer here at Fear The Wall and have not once been right. So, to keep that streak alive, I am predicting a 0-0 match for tomorrow’s game. Dortmund’s last goalless draw in the Bundesliga came against Schalke in October of 2019 so it is about time we get another against a local rival.