15:30 (CEST), Saturday 19th August, Volkswagen Arena (Wolfsburg, Germany)
After an uncomfortable campaign for Wolfsburg fans as the club barely avoided relegation by beating Eintracht Braunschweig in the relegation play-offs, it will be interesting to see how the club fairs with a full season with Andries Jonker in charge. Dortmund themselves have a new manager in Peter Bosz who will be hoping to make BVB a title challenger to the likes of RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich.
There has been plenty of noise about the potential departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the immature Ousmane Dembélé which is not doubt causing a hindrance on the club. Wolfsburg have gone under the radar during the summer which could be beneficial as the season is about to commence.
Last Time Out
Eintracht Norderstedt 0-1 Wolfsburg (DFB Pokal)
Wolfsburg didn’t have the straight forward afternoon they were hoping for as their Regionalliga Nord tested the Bundesliga club throughout the contest. Andries Jonker’s side had plenty of possession with 80% but failed to carve out many chances as it was evident that Wolfsburg had left their shooting boots at the Volkswagen Arena.
Eventually, the goal would come on 59 minutes when new signing Ignacio Camacho headed home his first Wolfsburg goal to send Die Wölfe through to the next round. Wolfsburg will need to be more effective in front of goal, 17 shots on goal with only 3 hitting the target.
FC Rielasingen-Arlen 0-4 Borussia Dortmund (DFB Pokal)
Borussia Dortmund enjoyed a much easier outing against their sixth tier opponents in Rielasingen-Arlen. Playing the game at Freiburg’s Schwarzwald-Stadion it would be BVB who would take the lead through defender Marc Bartra. Dortmund were putting on a clinic and it would be their main man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who would inflict the most pain.
A hat-trick for the Gabonese international to become Dortmund’s all time leading foreign goal scorer surpassing Stéphane Chapuisat. Plenty of positives for Peter Bosz as he side is ready to hit the ground running this season.
Andries Jonker has a few headaches as his side welcomes Borussia Dortmund on the weekend. Summer signing John Anthony Brooks picked up an injury in their cup win in Norderstedt and with Jeffrey Bruma out till October, it would seem that Ohis Felix Uduokhai who arrived from 1860 Munich is set to make his Bundesliga debut.
Ignacio Camacho and Riechedly Bazoer already looks a solid pairing in central midfield which will stick for this game. Kaylen Hinds who came from Arsenal will also make his Bundesliga debut on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund Lineup
Dortmund had a lean squad to choose from in their first round cup fixture but should have little selection dilemmas for the match-up in Wolfsburg. At the back, Dan-Axel Zagadou who put in a solid performance in the DFL Supercup is set to make his Bundesliga debut at left back. Christian Pulisic was rested and should be injected into the starting XI with Maximilian Philipp making way.
Key Battle: Mario Gomez vs Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Two of the perennial strikers in Germany’s top flight will face off in an epic showdown as Wolfsburg captain Mario Gomez will look to assert himself as a favourite for the Torjägerkanone (Bundesliga top scorer) against the current holder Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Gomez had an up and down season but still managed to end the season with 16 goals from 33 appearances. Under Andries Jonker, Gomez thrived where 13 of those league goals came under the new manager. It will be interesting to see how Gomez goes with Jonker in charge for a full season.
Aubameyang has had an interesting off-season with clubs courting his services left, right and centre. But nevertheless, Aubameyang has carried himself out as a true professional and playing his part for the side. The reigning Torjägerkanone champion scored a hat-trick in the DFB Pokal opener, but without Ousmane Dembélé who is out as he chases a move to Barcelona, one wonders who will be providing dimes for the Gabonese International.
With social media a major factor, everything is scrutinised by people like us whether it’s a player liking an Instagram photo or a video of a player declaring their love for another club. Unfortunately for Borussia Dortmund, their players have done a horrible job staying out of the headlines whether its Aubameyang saying he wants to return to Milan and of course the antics of Dembélé.
Peter Bosz has done the best he can to defuse those situations as he tries to prepare those who will be lining up in yellow and black come gameday. Dortmund fans will be expecting a top-notch performance to start the season no matter the off-field garbage surrounding the club.
Starting from Scratch
Manager Andries Jonker gets to start with a blank canvas this season as he embarks on his first full campaign as Wolfsburg manager. After avoiding relegation via the playoffs, Wolfsburg have a new lease on footballing life and one hopes they will move away from the drop zone. The goals from Mario Gomez will be important as they were last time out but he will need other contributors from the likes of Paul-Georges Ntep and Daniel Didavi.
Wolfsburg have an interesting young player in Kaylen Hinds, formerly of Arsenal the 19-year-old will be one to watch this season as he will regularly feature for Andries Jonker’s side this season.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
Taking 3 points will be crucial for Peter Bosz’s side and in his Bundesliga debut, Borussia Dortmund will hope to get their championship bid under way with a win in Wolfsburg. After a disappointing season last time out, Wolfsburg will look to avoid the 5-1 thrashing at home to Dortmund they suffered last season and for the most part, I expect a much closer contest. It’s hard to see Wolfsburg stealing a point against an almost full strength Dortmund side but they will challenge BVB for patches of the game.
Can Borussia Dortmund take the 3 points back home with them? Let us know in the comments section below.
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