Chris Williams –
Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen – Saturday, December 15, 17:30GMT/18:30 CET – SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, Dortmund, Germany
In this fixture, history has taught us that if you score first – you don’t necessarily win! For the team that has conceded the opener has gone on to to be victorious, on 16 occasions – a Bundesliga record.
Borussia Dortmund are flying, both on the European stage and also domestically. The Schwarzgelben are unbeaten, sitting atop of the Bundesliga with a seven point cushion – after picking up all three points against neighbours, Schalke, on the last matchday. A first victory against their derby neighbours in three years.
Lucien Favre has implemented a system that has thwarted all but Atletico Madrid, a two-nil loss at the Estadio Metropolitano in early November the only stain on pristine set of results so far.
At home the Borussians have been joy to watch. Their demolition of Nuremberg matched by comeback victories against Augsburg and Bayern, in the most thrilling of ways.
After rotating midweek for a fixture in Monaco – to which they also strolled to maximum points – Favre is expected to return to a more familiar line-up. With Raphaël Guerreiro expected to retain his place after impressing of late.
Speaking during the pre-match press conference, the Dortmund coach spoke on the recent form of his Portuguese midfielder:
“He’s already scored four goals in the Champions League! He came to us very late in the summer and was injured several times. He’s been improving little by little now for a couple of weeks. He’s good, you all saw that!”
Victory at home on Saturday will see Dortmund crowned the ‘half season champions’ – the Herbstmeisterschaft.
Saturday evening’s hosts aren’t the only side in good form. Die Grün-Weißen have amassed double their points tally compared to this stage last season, and at one point the club from the banks of the Weser River climbed to third in the table.
Florian Kohfeldt’s side had been in excellent form until Bayer Leverkusen left them humbled in the Wesser-Stadion. A six-two defeat started a run of five games, whereby the Green and Whites only picked up one point from an available 15.
Victory against Dusseldorf last Friday broke that awful run, a welcomed sight to the Bremen faithful – who are expected to travel in vast numbers Saturday evening – 8.5 thousand are making the trip to the Westfalenstadion.
Werder will be without Johannes Eggestein, who misses the fixture with a cold – while American teen sensation, Josh Sargent is once again included in the matchday squad, after his debut goal from the bench last week.
Dortmund vs Werder Bremen – Players to look out for:
Paco Alcácer #9 – Dortmund
If Barcelona are to look back at mistakes made this season, the transfer of Alcácer to Dortmund should be top of their list. Deemed surplus to requirements, the Schwarzgelben swooped to bring the 25-year-old in on loan, with a purchase option should he fit the mould.
With 11 goals in 13 games – across all competitions – there was little hesitation to make his move permanent. The Spanish international has broken Bundesliga records since his arrival. His goal in added time versus Freiburg was the forward’s tenth of the season, and his ninth from the bench – making him the Bundesliga’s most prolific ‘joker’.
Max Kruse #10 – Werder Bremen
If Werder have any aspirations of taking points off their hosts on Saturday, they will need to be resolute at the back and clinical up front. For this reason their 30-year-old forward will have to be at his attacking best.
Bremen’s club captain only has two goals to his name from the opening 14 league games, but he does boast double the amount of assists. His linkup play with those around him will be key to unlocking a stubborn Dortmund back-line.
A versatile forward, Kruse can play in any of the three attacking areas. With an ability to find the net from distance he will punish any lackadaisical marking on, or around, the edge of the area.
Dortmund vs Werder Bremen – Match Stats
- Dortmund will be crowned ‘Herbstmeisterschaft’ with a victory Saturday evening.
- Bremen will be in search of a win that could take them third in the Bundesliga – other results pending.
- After a heavy rotation midweek, Lucien Favre is expected to revert to a more familiar line-up.
- Last season Bremen reigned supreme thanks to goals from M. Eggestein and Gebre Selassie (W 1:2).
- Dortmund remain the only unbeaten side in the Bundesliga this season – P14 W11 D3.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction:Dortmund vs Werder Bremen – 3-1
Dortmund vs Werder Bremen – Lineups
Bürki – Piszczek, Akanji, Diallo, Hakimi – Delaney, Witsel – Sancho, Reus, Guerreiro – Alcacer
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Pavlenka – Langkamp, Sahin, Moisander – Gebre Selassie, M. Eggestein, Augustinsson – Osako, Klaassen – Kruse, Rashica
Head Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Chris Williams is a freelance European football journalist. Covering the Bundesliga, Premier League and both of UEFA’s European club competitions. Published in both local and international publications, he also contributes to television and radio across the globe. A member of the UK’s Sports Journalist Association and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Follow Chris Williams on Twitter @Chris78Williams