Manuel Veth –
Düsseldorf vs Dortmund – Tuesday, December 18, 19:30GMT/20:30CET – Merkur Spiel-Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany
After three games without a win, Fortuna Düsseldorf collected three points on Saturday against Freiburg. As a result, die Fortunen escape the direct relegation zone for at least one matchday.
Düsseldorf are now 16th with just 12 points from 15 games. “The table looks alright. I can live with where we are in the standings. But, we can improve,” Fortuna head coach Friedhelm Funkel said following the game against Freiburg.
In fact the game against Freiburg “was our best defensive performance all season,” Funkel added. The three points do indeed provide a sign of life from a side that was sliding towards relegation. In general 40 points are considered the magic number of points necessary to stay in the league, now almost at the halfway point, however, 12 points after 15 games is somewhat of the necessary pace for Fortuna.
Furthermore, with Borussia Dortmund Fortuna face a mission impossible before they travel to what is a must-win game against Hannover on the weekend. For Dortmund, in the meantime, the game on Tuesday will be a welcome opportunity to either maintain or even increase the cushion to the opposition.
Nine points ahead of Gladbach and Bayern Dortmund were excellent against Werder Bremen on Saturday night wrapping up the Herbstmeisterschaft (fall title) with two games to go ahead of the winter break. Perhaps the only negative in the win against Bremen was Dortmund’s efficiency in front of goal.
The Black and Yellows had six big chances and only converted two of them. On top of that Dortmund also hit the woodwork once and as a result, Werder were in the match until the very end of the game. That weakness, however, should also worry future Bundesliga opposition. Lucien Favre is still in the early stages of his project at Dortmund, and this side is likely to improve after the winter, which in turn means that lack efficiency will be a thing of the past sooner rather than later.
What does that mean for Düsseldorf? Fortuna have conceded the third most goals this season and should provide plenty of attacking opportunities for the Black and Yellows. As a result, expect a game in which Dortmund will dominate in what could be a long afternoon for Düsseldorf fans.
Düsseldorf vs Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Kaan Ayhan #5 – Fortuna Düsseldorf
Kaan Ayhan was the match winner for Düsseldorf on matchday 15. The defender scored both goals to secure Düsseldorf three much-needed points in the relegation battle. Ayhan, in particular, is a weapon on set pieces and if Düsseldorf want to get anything out of this match, they will have to capitalise from those opportunities. Funkel called Ayhan his “can opener” on the weekend. Important also for Ayhan who had been a healthy scratch against Werder the previous week. “Sometimes you are the bogeyman, and then you are the match winner, that is football,” Ayhan explained on the weekend. Born in Gelsenkirchen, the home of Dortmund’s biggest rivals Schalke, Ayhan considers the game against Dortmund a “bonus match” in which is not much expected from a side that will fight relegation for the rest of the season.
Raphaël Guerreiro #13 – Borussia Dortmund
Raphaël Guerreiro has resurrected his career under Lucien Favre it appears. Excellent midweek against Monaco Guerreiro had another solid showing this weekend against Werder Bremen. Playing on the left-wing in front of Achraf Hakimi the attacking role is already the third role Guerreiro is fulfilling since joining Dortmund from FC Lorient in the summer of 2016. Originally signed as a wing-back, Guerreiro also played as a holding midfielder under former head coach Thomas Tuchel. Favre, in the meantime, sees Guerreiro as an attacking player, who can compliment the three-man attacking midfield behind a nominal striker playing together with Englishman Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus.
Düsseldorf vs Dortmund – Match Stats
- Dortmund have scored 41 goals in the first 15 games – on average 2.73 a game for the most in the league.
- Dortmund bring on danger from the bench. Lucien Favre has brought on 13 goals and eight assists through his substitutions.
- Düsseldorf’s record against Dortmund: W14 D8 L16
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Düsseldorf vs Dortmund – 0-5
Düsseldorf vs Dortmund – Lineups
Rensing – Zimmermann, Ayhan, Kaminski, Gießelmann – Bodzek, Stöger – Usami, Raman – Karaman, Hennings
Head Coach: Friedhelm Funkel
Bürki – Piszczek, Akanji, Diallo, Schmelzer – Witsel, Dahoud – Sancho, Reus, Guerreiro – Paco Alcacer
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga 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.