Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. Werder Bremen
The winless streak for Borussia Dortmund continued last week in Leverkusen. Performances during this period have exactly been awful, although Peter Bosz has come in for some criticism for his over-zealous attacking play (Rafa Honigstein actually described it as “suicidal”). A turning point might be about to come in our season though. Despite being defeated by Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, Dortmund played valiantly. Today we welcome Werder Bremen, 17th in the Bundesliga and two wins all season, to Signal Iduna Park in a game that represents our best opportunity yet to change our flailing fortunes.
It’s a fixture that is historically entertaining, with the team conceding first going on to win the game 16 times over the years. In his press conference yesterday, Peter Bosz seemed keen to ensure that it would be his side coming out on top today. “It’s a very important match. We’re still waiting for the turnaround. We need a victory to make that happen,” said Peter Bosz. “We have to win at home tomorrow.” Bosz also went onto to talking about his preferred systems, reacting to recent criticism of his style of play and setup. “We have an attacking philosophy, which can be implemented with a back three or a back four.” He added, “defending well, but also playing good football with the ball” is crucial.
Bosz will have to attempt to win this game without Maxi Phillipp whose injury against Leverkusen last week could be season ending. Gonzalo Castro also picked up an ankle injury in that game which could rule him out for an extended period of time. Marc Batra is another who could miss the game with a niggle picked in last week’s game. However, there is some good news for the manager. Jeremy Toljan returns from suspension while Jadon Sancho, ineligible for the game in Madrid in midweek, is also in contention to come back into the squad.
Werder Bremen have a tough time themselves this season. They got their first win of the campaign in November when they defeated Hannover 4-0 at home. They claimed their second win last week, again at home, at the expense of VfB Stuttgart. Bremen boss Florian Kohfeldt was extremely complimentary to his sides opponents. “We are really excited for the game and the unbelievable atmosphere that awaits us. We have been looking forward to it all week and now it is important for us to channel our excitement and put in a great performance,” he said. Kohfeldt also commented on his gameplan for the match, stating that he would choose a reactive approach. “Obviously our gameplan is influenced by the quality of the opponent. The questions we need to answer are when we will man-mark, when do we avoid doing that, when do we press? Dortmund press really aggressively too which will create space for us in behind and that has been a big topic of discussion for us this weekend.”
Kohfeldt will be without his first choice striker, Aron Johansson, for the game. The American striker will miss out thanks to a knee complaint, which will no doubt please Peter Bosz. Other absentees include striker Yuning Zhang and goalkeeper Michael Zetterer.
Despite the distance between these two teams in the Bundesliga table this is a game that should not be taken lightly. Bremen may have not had the best of seasons so far but they have two of their last three. The tide does seem to be turning for Florian Kohfeldt’s side and today is a massive opportunity for them to make a statement. That being said, the same goes for Dortmund. Having drawn our last two and putting in impressive performances during those games one has to believe that our luck has to change soon. The omens certainly seem in our favour, with Dortmund having won 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two and the last goalless draw in this fixture coming some 15 years ago. Today HAS to be the day, surely…SURELY.