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G. Reyna (35), E. Haaland (54), E. Haaland (77)

Dortmund and Gladbach square off in weekend's marquee match-up

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

Two great German club teams on a crisp autumn evening. Does it get any better? An additional 70,000 fans would be nice, but Bundesliga lovers will take what they can these days. This round's "Saturday Night Special" is not to be missed.
Signal Iduna Park.
Signal Iduna Park.Photo: Marco Verch, CC BY-SA 2.0
The “dress rehearsal” was an unqualified success. Jude Bellingham tallied in his Dortmund debut and Marco Reus scored mere seconds after being subbed on in the BVB’s 5-0 win over MSV Duisburg in the opening Pokal Round last weekend.

Now it’s time to raise the curtains as see if Lucien Favre’s new 3-4-3 can dazzle on the big stage. As is the case at the beginning of every Bundesliga season, the central question on every German football lover’s mind is to whether the Schwarzgelben can mount a title challenge this year.

German giants FC Bayern München have won the last eight consecutive Bundesliga campaigns. Prior to that, Dortmund captured the previous two crowns. The last German club other than these two to hoist the Meisterschale was VfL Wolfsburg over eleven years ago.

Dortmund remained effectively in contention for the title last year until a 0-1 loss to Bayern in the 28th round. Though that defeat didn’t technically allow Bayern to clinch, that was definitely the moment after which Germans knew who the Champions would be.

Early stumbles in the 2019/20 sealed the fate of Germany’s second richest club. Dortmund dropped way too many points in the initial stages of the season. A 1-3 loss to FC Union Berlin in the third round and single-point draws with Freiburg, Frankfurt, Werder Bremen, Schalke, and SC Paderborn 07 in the season’s first half left the team unable to catch up.

A strong start being critical to the BVB’s prospects in this year’s campaign, one may even be tempted to label the upcoming fixture against spry Borussia Mönchengladbach a “must win.” Sporting Director has called upon his team to furnish “an absolute top performance.”

Dortmund have reason be hopeful that they continue their fine recent form against the Foals. In the past fourteen home league meetings against Glabach, the BVB have collected 40 of a possible 42 points. Such statistics, of course, mean little as Germany’s “West Prussians” are now officially one of the country’s elite squads.

Insofar as personnel moves are concerned, the most intriguing matter remains whether Dortmund coach Lucien Favre plans to start Marco Reus or young phenom Giovanni Reyna in midfield. The coach could potentially use them both as he did in a recent test match against Sparta Rotterdam.

Favre remained mum on the matter in a Friday press conference. He also declined to reveal any details about the return of injured starter Raphaël Guerreiro and first-choice keeper Roman Bürki.

The weekend’s marquee match-up will take place in front of the weekend's largest crowd. Dortmund took rapid advantage of new federally-sanctioned privileges and hatched a quick plan to allow 10,000 spectators entrance into Signal Iduna Park. Everything is arranged for an energetic and atmospheric fixture Saturday night under the lights.

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