How strong is the Bundesliga?

We could be about to find out.

A few facts first, Dortmund are second in their league, 5 points behind the leaders. They drew a big game at home at the weekend against a title-chasing rival (Bayern M – in truth their only rival) and have one of Europe’s most exciting strikers leading the line. Remind you of anyone? They have conceded two goals in their last ten games winning 8 of them. In 6 Europa League home games this season Dortmund have scored 20 goals.

You stick your full backs in, you take your full backs out

So on paper we’re up against it. Our slowly lengthening injury list won’t do our cause any good but up until recently we’ve been lucky on that score. Rose is out meaning that Davies will start (which he probably would’ve done anyway given Pochettino’s full back hokey cokey) with Wimmer and Toby in the centre. Walker or Rose? Walker seems the sensible choice given that the next game is against Villa and Trippier has shown signs of not coping when coming up against better opposition. His pace will be handy if Aubameyang is in his vicinity but as I say, Poch is enjoying his strict rotation policy at present.

I’m sure the irony of resting players for Villa, one of the worst teams we’ll face this season by all accounts against Dortmund, possibly the best won’t have been lost on the management.

In midfield, the absence of Dier and Alli means the manager needs to make a few decisions, especially as he’ll be very tempted not to start Kane. ‘Ideally’ (everything’s relative) he’d have liked to have Alli’s natural attacking instincts available to support Chadli but without him Nacer will be left to plough more of a lone furrow – something liable to make a man of him if nothing else.

Dembélé and probably Lamela (he likes Europe and Europe likes him) are probably definites to start. Alongside Mousa? Mason I suspect. Son, Eriksen, Chadli or Kane to fill the last two slots in some combination.

Pochettino seems to really like Onomah – it’s not impossible that he’ll start, just very unlikely.

Some more facts – Rafa stylee.

Augsburg were awful against Liverpool, if that’s the standard of team that Dortmund are playing week after week then they won’t be ready for us. Aubameyang is near the top of the goalscoring charts but just behind him are Kalou and Hernandez, players who couldn’t hold a regular place in their respective sides over here, again it makes you wonder about the standard of the teams BVB are facing regularly. Dortmund lost twice in the group stages and failed to beat PAOK Salonika in either game.

What a mouth-watering prospect this game is.

Dortmund are hot favourites to lift the trophy – they are 8/15 to win this game, we are 6-1 and in Aubameyang, Reus, Kagawa and Mkhitaryan have big name players and game changers. It’s not often this season we’ve worn the proper outsiders’ trousers. If we bring back anything to WHL other than a defeat we’ll have done extremely well.

We’re the team they least wanted to face though – let’s prove their fears right.

The match officials are from Turkey.


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