Two of the Bundesliga's most expensive rosters meet up in a vital match this weekend.
In their respective pressers, RB Leipzig's Jesse Marsch and Borussia Dortmund's Marco Rose provided injury updates on their squads.
Dortmund hä the advantage in terms of recent form. Rose must nevertheless deal with more injuries whilst Marsch gets a key actor back.
|Dani Olmo.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Sven Sonntag|
Jesse Marsch's German has been getting noticeably better over the past few weeks. When it came time to reflect upon the results of his team in the league thus far this season, however, the American trainer reached for one of the first phrases he likely learned upon first arriving in Austria.
"Es ist Scheiße," Marsch noted glibly.
Few could could disagree with that. A 14-point-haul through ten rounds for a team worth an estimated €500 million most definitely "sucks". Last week's blown opportunity against Frankfurt certainly didn't help.
It doesn't take Americans working in a German-speaking country long to learn that phrase. Marsch might have picked it up immediately upon joining current Dortmund coach Marco Rose's staff at RB Salzburg in 2018. Now that the two former colleague's have both moved to the Bundesliga, Marsch faces a critical match against his former boss on Saturday at home.
"Marco is a friend who is a top coach and a top person," Marsch noted at his Friday presser, "Now is the time to show our best performance of the season. We'll put up the Red Wall tomorrow and bring out the best in front of a full house. We need to get our [first] win again against a top team."
Marsch didn't seem all that concerned about the absence of defensive linchpin Willi Orban, who was one of the top performers in last week's disappointing draw with Frankfurt. Marsch expressed that Mohamaed Simakan and Josko Gvardiol gave him the flexibility to deploy either a three-man or four-man back-line.
"The way they [Simakan and Gvardiol] have played thus far has exceeded my expectations," Marsch said, "Josko's developing very well. He brings a great spirit on the pitch."
In addition to Orban, Marsch will be missing both former German national team fullbacks Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg. This doesn't necessarily mean that the RB trainer needs to built a three-man backline. Konrad Laimer, Nordi Mukiele, Angelino, Benjamin Heinrichs, and even Tyler Adams can all be pulled back to the fullback positions.
For Marsch, the whole matter of defensive personnel may actually be something of a moot point. Opponents Dortmund still have to make do without their biggest offensive stars. Leipzig, meanwhile, have their secret weapon back in gear.
Marsch confirmed at the press conference that, after a pair of brief relief appearances, he considers Dani Olmo fit enough to start. As Bundesliga watchers know, the highly flexible Spanish international can work just about anywhere.
"He's an incredible talent," Marsch noted, "We can play him on the forward line, as a wide ten, a central ten, or an aggressive eight. He can fit tactically at most any position."
Marsch still emphasized that the returning Olmo probably didn't have the fitness yet to go the full 90, but this naturally didn't rule out a start. The US trainer also provided some positive news on recovering Dutch attacker Brian Brobbey, whom he said would be a candidate for the bench.
When it comes to the injuries afflicting second-place Borussia Dortmund, Marco Rose didn't have nearly as many pieces of good news to report in his own Friday presser.
The BVB already confirmed a double-whammy of rough news so-to-speak this week. Regarding both Norwegian super striker Erling Haaland and American phenom Giovanni Reyna, the grim prognosis appears to be that both players will be lucky to feature at all before the end of this calendar year.
Rose confirmed on Friday that Raphaël Guerreiro, Nico Schulz, and Marius Wolf remained non-topics for Saturday's match. The loss of this trio effectively leaves the BVB trainer without a left fullback/wingback. Marcel Schmelzer, Mateu Morey, and Emré Can are also unavailable.
It would appear that the only solution would be to move Felix Passlack over to the left. Rose hinted at this possibility, but also didn't rule out starting Manuel Akanji at left-back.
"We actually already have a player in Manuel Akanji who can play at left-back," Rose noted, "His footballing and sprinting skills permit that."
This, of course, would mean that Rose would have to figure out another option at center back. Persistent mistakes made by Marin Pongracic presumably mean that Rose doesn't wish to give his Wolfsburg loanee another go.
The Dortmund gaffer may have no choice. Rose noted that Dan Axel-Zagadou would be back in the squad after successful rehab deployments with the U23s, yet said that 22-year-old probably wasn't ready for the starting XI at this time.
|1||P. Gulácsi (C)|
|39||B. Henrichs ↪59|
|8||A. Haidara ↪84|
|9||Y. Poulsen ⚽ ↪69|
|18||C. Nkunku ⚽ ↪84|
|10||E. Forsberg ↩59|
|33||A. Silva ↩69|
|38||H. Novoa Ramos|
|25||Daniel Olmo ↩84|
|26||M. Kourouma Kourouma|
|27||K. Laimer ↩84|
|34||M. Pongracic ↪46|
|28||A. Witsel ↪86|
|19||J. Brandt ↪82|
|11||M. Reus (C) ⚽|
|21||D. Malen ↪71|
|18||Y. Moukoko ↩71|
|36||A. Knauff ↩46|
|5||D. Zagadou ↩86|