Julian Nagelsmann on…
… the opposition.
I personally went to see BVB play in Mainz on Tuesday as the game was around the corner and as a Bundesliga coach, you don’t often get the opportunity to see an upcoming opponent live. A few things caught my eye that had already changed in the first game under Peter Stöger. It’s not a completely new BVB, but they defend a little more deeply and their pressing game is not as marked as it was under Peter Bosz. How they react to losing the ball is the most obvious change. BVB were very good at the start of the season, but then they tailed off. You could see in the first half of the Mainz game that they are currently struggling for confidence. After taking the lead, that did improve however. It’s also clear that they have a lot of quality despite injuries and that they can play good football – we’re prepared for that.
… the personnel.
Dennis Geiger will miss the game with a yellow card suspension, otherwise, every other player is fit. Sandro Wagner also trained with the team, we will decide on Friday afternoon after the last training session of the year what makes sense for the game.
… the sporting situation I.
My team are very fit and have made a very good impression. Against VfB, we ran 127 kilometres – that’s an enormous effort. Above all, when you consider our workload during the season so far and the game in the snow in Hannover. The energy in our performance against Stuttgart impressed me. The boys played a mature match against an opponent that stood very deep. They remained calm even though we weren't creating too many chances. We knew, however, that we couldn’t let up, as in a game like that you have to wait for your chance and make the most of it.
… the sporting situation II.
We’ve played very good games recently against BVB and just lacked a little luck to beat them. We put them under pressure and were on a par – the table has also shown that. Otherwise, Dortmund are a club that are usually ahead of us.
… the sporting situation III.
Subjectively, this first half of the season hasn’t been as good as the last one, although we could come within two points of our tally from last season with a win. Before the season, I would have taken 26 points, but now we want 29. The results in the Europa League cast a shadow over our first half of the season. We weren’t used to the busy schedule and had some ups and downs, but that gives us hope that we can do better in the second half of the campaign.
… the game on May 18th 2013.
I spoke to Markus Gisdol at half time that day and we asked ourselves why we weren’t behind 6-0. It was unbelievable how many chances Dortmund missed, we were so close to being relegated. The second half was then completely crazy – two penalties, two goals, Großkreutz in goal and the disallowed BVB equaliser in stoppage time. The linesman’s ears are probably still ringing today. It was incredible, but I can’t be doing with another roller coaster of emotions like that again – it wasn’t a good game for my grey hair and receding hairline. (laughs)
TSG and BVB have faced each other 20 times in the Bundesliga and DFB Cup combined. The head-to-head record clearly speaks in favour of Dortmund, who have won nine of these encounters. TSG have come out on top four times and there have been seven draws. At Signal Iduna Park, things have been even more complicated for Hoffenheim, where they have won just one and drawn three from eleven games. However, every TSG fan has fond memories of that one win. On May 18th 2013, two penalties from Sejad Salihovic secured 16th place in the table for Hoffe and top-flight survival.
The opposition’s form
3-0, 2-0, 0-0, 5-0, 3-0, 6-1 – those are BVB’s results from the opening six Bundesliga games of the campaign. Dortmund were at the summit of the table with those results, and stayed there until matchday nine. However, eight league games in a row without a win cost coach Peter Bosz his job, who only arrived at the club in the summer. Peter Stöger, who was only recently released by Cologne, won his first game as BVB manager 2-0 against Mainz 05.
The key battles
In Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dortmund have one of the best strikers in Europe in their ranks. The Gabon international is a player that makes the difference for his club – when he scores, BVB win. A simple yet effective recipe for success for Dortmund. The striker scored ten goals in the first eight games of the season, but since then he has only found the back of the net twice. Taking Aubameyang out of the game seems the obvious thing to do, and even if it doesn’t guarantee a win, it significantly increases the chances of success.