Borussia Dortmund are hoping to end their 2020 on a positive note when they face Eintracht Braunschweig in the DFB Pokal on Tuesday.
Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga title challenge faced a major blow on Friday when they slumped to a disappointing defeat to Union Berlin. It also made things difficult for Edin Terzic, who was appointed as the interim coach following the sacking of Lucien Favre. Although the 38-year-old might get replaced in January, he will be hoping to make an impression on Tuesday when BVB take on Eintracht Braunschweig in the second round of the DFB Pokal.
It will be the final game for Dortmund in a year that has yielded little positives. The Black and Yellows conceded the title to Bayern Munich last season while they are now trailing the Bavarians once again by a whopping ten-point margin as we head into the January transfer window.
However, in DFB Pokal, they have a legitimate chance of landing a piece of silverware this season, so securing a victory on Tuesday could be critical as far as the club’s current season’s objectives are concerned.
Eintracht Braunschweig won’t make things easier, though. The 2.Liga outfit, despite dawdling around the bottom end of the second division this season, had made the headlines earlier in the campaign when they knocked out Hertha Berlin in the first round of the DFB Pokal. They will be looking to cause another upset when they face Dortmund.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides in this knockout fixture in the German Cup this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
A former academy manager at 1.FC Koln, Braunschweig head coach Daniel Meyer primarily likes to play with a three-at-the-back formation, though he could also shift to a classic 4-2-3-1 setup. Both the formations have also been widely used by Borussia Dortmund this season.
Unfortunately for the hosts, they are likely to miss out on the services of key full-backs in Benjamin Kessel and Niko Kijewski while Leon Burger and Mathias Heiland have also been ruled out.
As far as the first-team is concerned, Dominik Wydra and Jannis Nikolaou form the central defensive partnership alongside Robin Ziegele. They should be assisted by the wing-back duo of Danilo Wiebe and Lasse Schluter, who is still deputising for the injured left-back Kijewski.
Braunschweig do have a marquee player in the ranks in the shape of Felix Kroos, who is the brother of current Real Madrid superstar Toni Kroos. He looks likely to operate alongside Patrick Kammerbauer in the double-pivot while Martin Kobylanski should replace Yari Otto in the number ten role.
Nick Proschwitz is Braunschweig’s most lethal forward, having netted five goals so far this term. The onus will be on him to spearhead the club’s attack, with additional support from Fabio Kaufmann.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Dornebusch; Ziegele, Wydra, Nikolaou; Wiebe, Kroos, Kammerbauer, Schlüter; Kobylanski; Kaufmann, Proschwitz
Borussia Dortmund are missing a few players as well in their midweek trip to Braunschweig. Erling Haaland and Marcel Schmelzer are already out due to their respective injuries, while Mahmoud Dahoud has now joined Reinier Jesus and Felix Passlack in BVB’s list of absentees heading into this game.
Terzic, however, has been boosted by the return of Thorgan Hazard. The Belgian comes back into the squad after missing the last three matches with a muscle injury. There is also an interesting name in BVB’s squad heading into this game in the shape of BVB II captain Stefan Tiggs.
⚠️ Hazard ? pic.twitter.com/79loFNqwri
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) December 21, 2020
The 22-year-old has been in excellent form in the Regionalliga this season, netting 12 times in just 18 matches. He is in contention to make a first-team appearance, although it is Youssoufa Moukoko who is favourite to spearhead the Dortmund attack in the absence of Haaland.
The 16-year-old netted his first senior goal in the 2-1 defeat to Union Berlin on Friday. And against Braunschweig, he will be keen on bagging a couple of goals and further increase his confidence. The youngster won’t be the only one, however, as Julian Brandt also hopes to make an impression following a disappointing start to the campaign.
It appears unlikely that Marco Reus will be risked with a start so we are expecting Brandt to form the creative trifecta alongside Jadon Sancho and Giovanni Reyna. While in midfield, the absence of Dahoud should pave the way for young Jude Bellingham to make his return to the starting eleven. The Englishman should accompany Axel Witsel in the double-pivot.
And finally, in the defensive department, Terzic is likely to chop and change. Thomas Meunier and Raphael Guerreiro should both make way for Mateu Morey and Nico Schulz in the full-back positions while Dan-Axel Zagadou is expected to come in for Mats Hummels. There could also be a change in goal with Roman Burki making way for Marwin Hitz.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hitz; Morey, Akanji, Zagadou, Schulz; Bellingham, Witsel; Sancho, Brandt, Reyna; Moukoko
- The injured Erling Haaland is Borussia Dortmund’s top scorer this season with 17 goals from 14 games in all competitions.
- Three of Giovanni Reyna’s five Dortmund goals to date have been scored in the DFB Cup.
- Borussia Dortmund have won the DFB Cup four times, most recently in 2017. Eintracht Braunschweig’s deepest run in the competition was to the semi-finals, which they managed in 1981 and 1990.
- Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Braunschweig share an even head-to-head record with 15 wins apiece and 10 draws in their 40 meetings to date.
- Bundesliga champions in 1967, Braunschweig are currently 15th in Bundesliga 2, 31 places below Borussia Dortmund on the German footballing pyramid.
Player to Watch
⚽️ Yousouffa #Moukoko
What a strike to become the youngest Bundesliga goalscorer!#FCUBVB pic.twitter.com/A8Jb8mh14g
— Borussen ✍? (@BorussenEdits) December 18, 2020
Moukoko became the Bundesliga’s youngest ever goalscorer – at 16 years and 28 days – when he found the target against Union last Friday. And the youngster could be on the verge of breaking another record if he scores against Braunschweig – becoming the youngest scorer of the DFB Cup, a title currently held by his attacking teammate Gio Reyna.
There is no doubt that the young sensation will be heading into this full of confidence, having scored in the last game. However, he could be under pressure to perform as well, especially after Terzic confirmed in the pre-match press conference that Haaland should be back in action in January.
The Norwegian’s return is set to affect Moukoko’s overall game-time so the forward definitely needs to make use of his opportunities – thus making him the player worth keeping an eye on in this intriguing DFB Cup fixture this midweek.
Eintracht Braunschweig 0-3 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund defence has fared poorly in recent weeks, often conceding goals from set-pieces. However, the potential inclusion of Zagadou should add some freshness into their defensive ranks while Braunschweig’s horrific record this term, combined with the absence of some key players, should easily allow the Black and Yellows to seal a comfortable victory.
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