Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga title challenge suffered a severe blow on Friday when they suffered a disappointing defeat against Union Berlin. This also made it difficult for Edin Terzic, who was appointed interim coach after the dismissal of Lucien Favre. Although the 38-year-old could be replaced in January, he hopes to make an impression on Tuesday when BVB takes on Eintracht Braunschweig in the second round of the DFB Cup.
It will be the last game for Dortmund in a year that has brought little positive. The Black and Yellows awarded the title to Bayern Munich last season, while they are now again lagging behind Bayern with a full ten points as we approach the transfer window in January.
At the DFB Pokal, however, they have a legitimate chance of landing a piece of silver this season. As such, getting a win on Tuesday could be vital to the club’s current season goals.
Eintracht Braunschweig will not make it any easier. The 2. The league team, although dawdling at the lower end of the second division this season, made headlines at the start of the season when it defeated Hertha Berlin in the first round of the DFB Cup. They will try to cause another surprise when they play against Dortmund.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we’re going to run the rule over the two sides in this knockout game in the German Cup this week.
A former academy manager at 1. FC Köln, Braunschweig’s head coach Daniel Meyer especially likes to play with a three-on-back formation, but could also switch to a classic 4-2-3-1 setup. Both formations were used extensively by Borussia Dortmund this season.
Unfortunately for the hosts, they are likely to miss the services of key full-backs Benjamin Kessel and Niko Kijewski, while Leon Burger and Mathias Heiland have also been left out.
For the first team, Dominik Wydra and Jannis Nikolaou form the central defense partnership alongside Robin Ziegele. They are supported by the full-back duo Danilo Wiebe and Lasse Schluter, who are still standing up for the injured left-back Kijewski.
Braunschweig has a marquee player in its ranks in Felix Kroos, the brother of the current Real Madrid superstar Toni Kroos. He will likely double-pivot alongside Patrick Kammerbauer, while Martin Kobylanski should replace Yari Otto in number ten.
Nick Proschwitz is Braunschweig’s deadliest striker after scoring five goals so far this season. He must lead the club’s attack with additional support from Fabio Kaufmann.
Borussia Dortmund also misses some players on their trip to Braunschweig during the week. Erling Haaland and Marcel Schmelzer are already out due to their respective injuries, while Mahmoud Dahoud has now added Reinier Jesus and Felix Passlack to the list of those absent from BVB.
Terzic, however, was helped by the return of Thorgan Hazard. The Belgian returns to the squad after missing the last three games with a muscle injury. With BVB II captain Stefan Tiggs there is also an interesting name in the BVB squad.
The 22-year-old was in excellent form in the Regionalliga this season, scoring twelve goals in just 18 games. He is fighting for a first-team appearance, although it is Youssoufa Moukoko who prefers to lead the attack in Dortmund in the absence of Haaland.
The 16-year-old scored his first senior goal in the 2-1 defeat against Union Berlin on Friday. And against Braunschweig he wants to score a few goals and further strengthen his self-confidence. The youngster won’t be the only one though, as Julian Brandt wants to make an impression even after a disappointing start to the campaign.
Marco Reus is unlikely to be risked with a start, so we expect Brandt to form the creative trifecta alongside Jadon Sancho and Giovanni Reyna. In midfield, Dahoud’s absence should pave the way for the young Jew Bellingham to return to the starting XI. The Englishman was supposed to accompany Axel Witsel in the double pivot.
And finally, in Defense, Terzic will likely hack and change. Thomas Meunier and Raphael Guerreiro should both make way for full-backs Mateu Morey and Nico Schulz, while Dan-Axel Zagadou is expected for Mats Hummels. There could also be a change in goal if Roman Burki gives way to Marwin Hitz.
Moukoko became the youngest scorer in the Bundesliga at the age of 16 years and 28 days when he found the goal against Union last Friday. And the youngster could be on the verge of breaking another record if he scores against Braunschweig – making him the youngest scorer in the DFB Cup, a title currently held by his attacking teammate Gio Reyna.
There is no doubt that the young sensation will head in that direction with confidence after a goal in the last game. However, he could also be under pressure to perform, especially after Terzic confirmed in the pre-game press conference that Haaland should be back in action in January.
The return of the Norwegian will have an impact on Moukoko’s total playing time. The striker must therefore use his chances. This makes him the player who is worth keeping an eye on in this fascinating DFB Cup game in the middle of the week.
Borussia Dortmund’s defense has done poorly in recent weeks and has often conceded goals. The possible inclusion of Zagadou should, however, add some freshness to their defensive ranks, while Braunschweig’s terrible record this season, coupled with the absence of some key players, should easily allow the Blacks and Yellows to take a comfortable win.
DFB Cup, Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Braunschweig, Eintracht Stadium, 2. Bundesliga
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