Borussia Dortmund - Werder Bremen Preview: Champions get new season under way with tricky home fixture
Jurgen Klopp's men get their title defence started by entertaining the Weserstadion outfit, who have brought in several new faces as they prepare for an assault on the top four
By Enis Koylu
Kirch, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Kuba, Reus, Grosskreutz
Gebre Selassie, Prodl, Sokratis, Ignjovski
De Bruyne, Hunt, Elia
The big news for Borussia Dortmund is that star playmaker Mario Gotze will not be fit in time to take his place in the starting line-up as he continues his recovery from an eye infection, leaving Jakub 'Kuba' Blaszczykowski to continue on the right wing.
Jurgen Klopp has also been dealt a fresh injury blow in the form of Lukasz Piszczek, who has sustained a thigh strain, and missed training on Wednesday. Oliver Kirch is expected to fill in for the Poland defender, due in part to Kevin Grosskreutz being required on the wing thanks to Gotze's lack of fitness. Despite sustaining an injury in Germany's recent friendly against Argentina, Mats Hummels is confident of playing against Thomas Schaaf's men.
Elsewhere, Sebastian Kehl made his comeback from injury in last week's 3-0 DFB-Pokal win against Oberneuland, allowing him to slot in alongside Ilkay Gundogan in the deep-lying midfield positions. Sven Bender remains sidelined as he recovers from hernia surgery.
After a summer of change at the Weserstadion, Thomas Schaaf is set to name a completely different starting line-up to the one that featured for his team last season.
Tim Wiese has left the club for Hoffenheim, leaving his former understudy, Sebastian Mielitz to take his place between the sticks, with Theodor Gebre Selassie slotting in at right-back alongside established defenders Sebastian Prodl, Sokratis and Aleksandar Ignjovski.
Elsewhere, Kevin De Bruyne, Nils Petersen and Eljero Elia should come into the team after their respective summer moves from Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Juventus, though the Dutchman has been struggling with a foot injury and could be replaced by Marko Arnautovic. Levent Aycicek has been struggling with a knee problem, and has been ruled out of the trip to Signal Iduna Park.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Borussia Dortmund come into this match on the back of a 28-match unbeaten run which helped them recover from a shaky start to clinch a second consecutive Bundesliga title.
- Jurgen Klopp's side also featured in the first game of last season, beating Hamburg 3-1, with Mario Gotze (pictured) on form.
- BVB have come out on top in their last five home Bundesliga meetings with Werder Bremen, last losing in 2006-07
- Theodor Gebre Selassie, Kevin De Bruyne, Eljero Elia and Nils Petersen are all set to make their first Bundesliga appearances for Werder Bremen.
- Thomas Schaaf is set to start his 15th season in charge of the club. He helped stave off the threat of relegation in his first game in charge - the last fixture of the 1998-1999 campaign.
- Bremen were pipped to the 1994-1995 Bundesliga by Borussia Dortmund, finishing a mere point behind the champions.
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Top 3 Predictions
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Werder Bremen
- 17.22 %
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Werder Bremen
- 15.19 %
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Werder Bremen
- 13.58 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Feb 8, 2014||Werder Bremen 1 - Borussia Dortmund 5|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Aug 23, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 1 - Werder Bremen 0|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Jan 19, 2013||Werder Bremen 0 - Borussia Dortmund 5|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Aug 24, 2012||Borussia Dortmund 2 - Werder Bremen 1|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Aug 5, 2012||Borussia Dortmund 3 - Werder Bremen 3|
|Apr 15, 2014||Borussia Dortmund 2 - VfL Wolfsburg 0||GERC|
|Apr 12, 2014||FC Bayern München 0 - Borussia Dortmund 3||GER1|
|Apr 8, 2014||Borussia Dortmund 2 - Real Madrid CF 0||UCL|
|Apr 5, 2014||Borussia Dortmund 2 - VfL Wolfsburg 1||GER1|
|Apr 2, 2014||Real Madrid CF 3 - Borussia Dortmund 0||UCL|
|23||Theodor Gebre Selassie||Defender|
|14||Kevin De Bruyne||Midfielder|
While it may be hard to argue that Dortmund would benefit from Mario Gotze's absence in any way, one person to profit from the Germany international's injury woes is Jakub Blaszczykowski, who was in fine form for the latter part of last season in his team-mates right-wing berth. Having signed a new contract at Signal Iduna Park, 'Kuba' will be hoping to secure a first-team slot, and with Kevin Grosskreutz's form waning continuously, the Poland skipper may well be able to seal a berth alongside Gotze and Marco Reus if he is able to keep up his performance levels.
If there is one player with a point to prove on Friday, it is Eljero Elia. The Dutchman was supposedly one of Juventus' star signings last summer, but, unfancied by coach Antonio Conte, he made just a handful of appearances as the Bianconeri stormed to their Serie A title. He is, however, a proven Bundesliga star, and will be hoping to show everyone in Turin exactly what he is capable of at his new club. And there will be no better way than doing so than by providing a decisive, match-winning performance against the champions and justifying his €5.5 million price tag.
Borussia Dortmund may have been far from convincing in the latter part of their pre-season campaign, but the gulf in class between Jurgen Klopp's side and Werder Bremen is plain for all to see. The visitors ended last season in disastrous form, sinking from the European places into mediocrity as Dortmund went from strength to strength. Both teams have done fairly well in the transfer market, but the hosts have brought in an ostensibly higher quality of player, and despite Lukasz Piszczek's absence, I would expect the champions to get their their title defence off to a winning start.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed