One of the big questions going into the new 2023/24 Bundesliga season was how Borussia Dortmund were going to respond after the huge disappointment of losing out on the Meisterschale in such dramatic circumstances on the final day of last season. One train of thought was that they would come out with all guns blazing as a sign of their intention, but the reality has been sadly different.
The Schwarzgelben are unbeaten so far, but in neither of their opening two matches have they emerged with a whole lot of credit or positivity. The fact that Gregor Kobel was arguably their best player and Köln the better team in their opening day win says a lot. So too does the fact that there wasn’t much to praise about their draw away at Bochum on matchday two other than they managed to emerge with a point.
The post-match comments from captain Emre Can and coach Edin Terzic saw them admit to a gap between expectations and delivery and this discrepancy needs to be addressed, and addressed soon.
Pre-season there’s been an air of dissatisfaction over the club’s transfer dealings with the sense that while the likes of Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Union Berlin, and Bayer Leverkusen have spent well to improve their squads, Dortmund’s dealings have not really given Edin Terzic much more to work with than he had last season. The latest rumour is of a move for Werder Bremen striker Niclas Füllkrug. While a top player and one who would do well for BVB, the area is not necessarily the team’s top priority right now.
Newly promoted Heidenheim are up on Friday at the Signal Iduna Park, which in theory at least will give the Schwarzgelben the opportunity to buck up their ideas. That said, remember what happened on matchday 3 last season when a newly promoted side arrived in Dortmund (Werder’s smash and grab 3-2 win).
Last season’s surprise 2.Bundesliga champions would have expected life in the top flight to be tough and they have certainly been given a quick lesson as to how tough with two losses to start their very-first season as a Bundesliga club.
Having lost at the Volkswagen Arena on matchday one, they looked to have made the dream start at home to Hoffenheim last weekend as they took a 2-0 lead. However, three goals conceded in a fifteen-minute spell, including a last-gasp penalty, denied them anything from the match and spoilt the party.
Life doesn’t get any easier with Friday’s trip to the Signal Iduna Park, but trainer Frank Schmidt will have analysed the weaknesses BVB showed against Köln and Bochum and will look to exploit them.
Trainer Edin Terzic only really now has Julien Duranville still on the sidelines, so has a full squad from which to choose. Julian Brandt should be able to move back to his central role after being shifted to the left against Bochum. It remains to be seen whether Mats Hummels retains his place in the back four or whether Süle returns to partner Schlotterbeck. Julian Ryerson could also replace Marius Wolf.
Possible line-up: Kobel – Ryerson, Süle, N. Schlotterbeck, Bensebaini – Sabitzer, Can – Malen, Brandt, Adeyemi – Haller
Left back Jonas Föhrenbach will miss out after suffering a setback in training this week. Norman Theuerkauf or Benedikt Gimber could deputise. Formation wise, it will be interesting to see how ambitious Frank Schmidt lines up his side. The trip to Wolfsburg saw a 4-1-3-2, but we could see a 4-1-4-1 on Friday with Marvin Pieringer playing deeper.
Possible line-up: Müller – Traoré, P. Mainka, Siersleben, Theuerkauf – Maloney – Dinkci, Thomalla, Beste – Pieringer – Kleindienst
What they’re saying:
Edin Terzic: “It’s a unique story that Heidenheim has pulled off. They started with euphoria and had a great game last week against Hoffenheim. They were able to have a lot of courage there. Stamina and physical size are among their strengths.
“We want to significantly improve our performance and also have to improve the defence. The guys were very self-critical after the game in Bochum. We are sure that we will show a different face tomorrow.
“If fans and team fight for the same things for 90 minutes, we showed last season what is possible. We know that the performance in the first games was not good and we want to send the fans home satisfied tomorrow.”
Frank Schmidt: “According to their own statement, BVB is not satisfied with their own performance so far. But they got four points. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a point in three halves, which I was very happy with. Dortmund have now played against two teams with two different approaches. Cologne with good midfield pressing in a chain of four and Bochum with a chain of three or five. Both managed to prevent Dortmund from really being able to play their game.
“However, they still managed to get four points through individual quality. We want to do better than in Wolfsburg and, ideally, keep setting the needle. We are seen by the media as clear outsiders, but that’s the beauty of football: the game has to be played first!
“We’ve had enough chances to score goals. That’s what makes me positive. When it comes to efficiency and scoring goals, a little bit of luck is involved from time to time. It has always been like this. See Hoffenheim’s 2-2 draw against us. We’re training this week as normal with the same content as every other week.”
26/08/23 VfL Bochum (a) 1-1 D (Bundesliga)
19/08/23 Köln (h) 1-0 W (Bundesliga)
12/08/23 TSV Schott Mainz (a) 1-6 W (DFB Pokal)
06/08/23 Ajax (h) 3-1 W (Friendly)
03/08/23 Chelsea (n) 1-1 D (Friendly)
26/08/23 Hoffenheim (h) 2-3 L (Bundesliga)
19/08/23 VfL Wolfsburg (a) 2-0 L (Bundesliga)
13/08/23 Rostocker FC (a) 0-8 W (DFB Pokal)
08/08/23 TSV Essingen (a) 1-6 W (Friendly)
05/08/23 Hellas Verona (h) 3-2 W (Friendly)
Erm….there hasn’t been one! In a rare occurrence, this will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides.
Players to watch:
The reported move for Niclas Füllkrug is going to make Sebastien Haller all the more determined to get his Bundesliga scoring up and running this season to ensure everyone knows he is the number one. Donyell Malen has both of BVB’s goals so far and the time seems ripe for Haller to open his account.
The first two matches this season have drawn blanks from striker Tim Kleindienst, but it is only a matter of time before he breaks his duck and where better place to bag your first goal of the season, than at a packed Signal Iduna Park. Last season’s 2.Bundesliga top-scorer hit 25 goals last season to fire FCH to the title. His job this season is to score the goals to keep them up.
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