Manuel Veth –
Dortmund vs Stuttgart – Saturday, March 9, 14:30GMT/15:30CET – SIGNAL IDUNA Park, Dortmund, Germany
Borussia Dortmund’s poor form continued on Tuesday against Tottenham Hotspur. Although the Black and Yellows dominated the team from North London over the first 45 minutes, there was no way through and one mistake in the second half meant that Dortmund lost that game 1-0.
In many ways, Dortmund’s inability to not score for 180 minutes against a good, but not outstanding, Tottenham side highlights some of the Black and Yellow’s recent problems. Dortmund are no longer consequential in the attack and also lack the freedom created by confidence to tear opponents apart in the same way they did throughout the first half of the season.
Eight chances were left unused in the first half alone. Enough to overturn the 3-0 first leg defeat in the first 45 minutes. “The first half was fantastic, and the performance must encourage us going forward,” Axel Witsel said after the game. “That sort of performance has to be the benchmark for the last ten games in the Bundesliga,” the director of the licencing department Sebastian Kehl added.
In the league, Dortmund had a seven-point lead over Bayern on February 2. That lead has now dwindled to just two goals. In fact, creating goalscoring chances, like it was the case against Tottenham, has not been the issue of late, instead, Dortmund have struggled to put key chances away and dominate opponents not just on the pitch but also in the goalscoring column.
Hence, in many ways, the result against Tottenham is more of the same and a warning rather than an encouraging performance. Furthermore, on paper, Dortmund might face an easy task on Saturday in Stuttgart, but in reality, the Black and Yellows have struggled against teams from the lower regions of the Bundesliga.
Stuttgart, in the meantime, will find Dortmund’s tendency to drop points against the likes of Fortuna Düsseldorf, Nürnberg and Augsburg encouraging. Furthermore, the Swabians also managed a 5-1 victory over bottom dwellers Hannover 96 last week. Yes, Hannover is not the benchmark but Stuttgart played well in a must-win game.
In fact, Stuttgart are now in a situation in which every game is a playoff match. The same is the case for Dortmund, but while the Black and Yellows are fighting for the championship against juggernauts Bayern, Stuttgart are clinging on for the very survival of the club in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund vs Stuttgart – Players to look out for:
Jadon Sancho #7 – Borussia Dortmund
Jadon Sancho leads the league in dribble attempts. The 18-year-old English national team player, in fact, was very much the face of a young and inspiring Dortmund side during the first half of the season. But while Sancho was fantastic in the first half of the season he has recently struggled to show the very best of his game. Against Tottenham he was often lost among the Spurs’ tight defensive lines and, in general, his play has been inefficient at times. Dortmund, however, need Sancho to do well to get their season back on track.
Ozan Kabak #18 – VfB Stuttgart
Ozan Kabak has taken less time than anyone expected to arrive in the Bundesliga. The 18-year-old Turkish defender scored twice in Stuttgart’s 5-1 victory over Hannover last weekend. Tall and athletic Kabak’s role-models are Virgil van Dijk and Raphael Varane. “Athleticism, drive, and presence, as well as buildup play and positional play, are his strengths,” former VfB coach and Turkey expert Christoph Daum told kicker this week. “Despite his talent he still got tons of potential to grow as a player. In Turkey he often went into situations by taking a risk and got away with,” Daum added. Kabak is a diamond in the rough, who already is invaluable for Stuttgart in the relegation battle.
Dortmund vs Stuttgart – Match Stats
- Stuttgart have won 12 games in Dortmund, only against Bayern did they win more often on the road.
- At the same time, the Swabians have not managed to win in Dortmund in ten games.
- Borussia Dortmund lead the league with 535 dribblings, Stuttgart are last with 324 dribblings – Jadon Sancho attempted the most dribblings in the league (115).
- Dortmund’s record against Stuttgart at home: W22 D15 L12
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Dortmund vs Stuttgart – 3-1
Dortmund vs Stuttgart – Lineups
Bürki – Hakimi, Weigl, Akanji, Diallo – Götze, Witsel, Reus – Sancho, Paco Alcacer, Guerreiro
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Zieler – Kabak, Pavard, Kempf – Beck, Castro, Ascacibar, Insua – Zuber, Esswein – Gomez
Head Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.