Borussia Dortmund will aim to bounce back to form as they face another interesting opponent in Darmstadt on Friday at the Signal Iduna Park. Thomas Tuchel’s men will look to carry on from their 6:0 thumping of Polish champions Legia Warsaw in midweek, to bounce back to form especially after a disappointing 1:0 defeat to RB Leipzig on match day 2.
Their impressive midweek performance put an end to all the questions that were pondering in the past few days over Dortmund’s poor early season performance. Old boy Mario Götze found the scoresheet as well as few of the other new arrivals this summer, including Raphael Guerreiro and defender Marc Bartra.
The Black and Yellows are currently eighth in the table with just four points from the first two games, scoring just three goals and conceding two at the same time.
Despite their fantastic performance, Dortmund should be aware of their next Bundesliga opponents as Thomas Tuchel’s men had difficulties breaking the shackles of Bundesliga teams so far this season. And in Darmstadt, they will have another, defensively rigid team who likes to pounce on the counter attack.
Darmstadt, on the other hand, will once again be the minnows of Bundesliga this season. After remarkably surviving the drop last season, Darmstadt have lost their previous head coach Dirk Schuster to FC Augsburg as well as their main man up front, Sandro Wagner, who moved to TSG Hoffenheim in the summer. The onus is on new head coach Norbert Meier to keep the minnows in the Bundesliga for two consecutive seasons.
Last week, Darmstadt staggeringly registered a 1:0 win against rivals Eintracht Frankfurt in the Hessen derby. Frankfurt were all over Darmstadt for the entirety of the game with 80% of possession but the Lilies stood firm and in the dying minutes, substitute Sandro Sirigu’s directed cross drifted towards the back of the net to give Darmstadt an important victory over their fierce rivals.
Die Lilien will once again hunt for the kill but this time, they face the mighty black and yellow brigade, who will be eager to impress.
Dortmund will look to pick off from where they left and will be keen to get all three points on their home turf but Darmstadt, are no pushovers. Having lost just five games on the road last season, Darmstadt tend to perform very well in away games. Whilst, Dortmund are still unbeaten at home under Coach Thomas Tuchel.
Defenders Neven Subotic and Erik Durm are still out due to operation and knee problems. While Sven Bender is expected to return to training soon and club captain Marco Reus is in-development training after tearing his abductor muscle.
Norbert Meier, on the other hand, will miss captain and key defender Aytac Sulu. Midfielder Peter Niemeyer limped off after sustaining an injury against Eintracht last week, whether he will start or not is unknown, however. The other absentees for the Lilies will be Victor Obinna and Felix Platte.
Mario Götze was brilliant against Legia on Wednesday, scoring his first goal after coming back to the club. Götze will look to carry on the display against Darmstadt with Marco Reus injured, he will have some big boots to fill. Andre Schurrle will also be crucial for Dortmund, the former Chelsea man performed well so far in the early season. His spooky runs down the channel could be very helpful as they look to destabilise the tight Darmstadt defense.
Darmstadt were very rigid against Eintracht, however, one player who particularly caught my eye was new signing Roman Bezjak, the 27-year-old Slovenian arrived from HNK Rijeka this summer. Sharp, agile and dangerous on the counter attack, Bezjak could well cause some problems for Schmelzer down the right-hand channel. Another interesting player for the Lilies is 22-year-old Laszlo Kleinheisler, talented and brimming with potential, Kleinheisler was brilliant in the Euros 2016 but has struggled to find game time since moving to the Bundesliga last season. A strong performance against the mighty Dortmund might just spark a turning point he was seeking in his career.
Borussia Dortmund: (4-2-3-1 formation) Roman Bürki; Lukasz Piszczek, Sokratis, Marc Bartra, Marcel Schmelzer; Julian Weigl, Gonzalo Castro; Andre Schurrle, Mario Goetz, Ousmane Dembele; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
SV Darmstadt: (4-2-3-1 formation) Michael Esser; Florian Jungwirth, Immanuel Hohn, Alexandr Milosevic, Fabian Holland; Jerome Gondorf, Laszlo Kleinheisler; Marcel Heller, Anis Ben-Hatira, Roman Bezjak; Sven ‘Lord’ Schipplock
Prediction: Dortmund 2:0 Darmstadt