Before the start of the first match, the composition of the team at Borussia Dortmund is anything but certain. Coach Edin Terzic must also decide on a basic order
The task is a tough one: instead of a conceivable first-round draw with a loose opener at a four- or five-league club, Borussia Dortmund will take on ambitious third-league leaders 1860 Munich, on a Friday evening in the cramped and noisy Grünwalder Straße stadium. After a comparatively short preparation, in which many of the international players only started late, the first acid test awaits the new coach Edin Terzic. “Of course, there is also a portion of curiosity to see how far we are,” he says himself.
The coach has a number of options against the ex-Bundesliga side, who started their league campaign in Dresden (4:3) in a 4-1-4-1 system, starting with the basic order and also the occupation of the individual positions. Salih Özcan, Tom Rothe and Felix Passlack are missing, as is Sebastien Haller, who is seriously ill. Making up for the Ivorian’s long-term absence internally will be one of the major challenges on Friday.
Tempo and dynamism instead of physicality and flanks
One thing is clear: Terzic doesn’t have a second guy like the tall centre forward in his squad, he won’t be able to play the possibly preferred 4-3-3 with a bulky top 1:1. Instead of physicality and crosses, the 39-year-old is likely to go for pace and dynamism up front – in all likelihood with a wide-ranging one-two of Donyell Malen/Karim Adeyemi, with Youssoufa Moukoko also an option. “We have to be ready to find solutions,” Terzic demands: “We deliberately tried out the double top. In Moukoko we have one of the most talented players in that position, we also have Malen and Adeyemi who can play in that position. “
In the final test of the training camp against FC Villarreal (0:2), BVB started in a 3-5-2, with Jude Bellingham playing centrally in front of a three-man chain with two attacking wing-backs and Julian Brandt shuttling between the six and a higher position next to Marco Reus. That could be a pointer for the opener in Munich – but it doesn’t have to be.
Does a top centre-back drop out of the starting eleven?
Equally conceivable is a 4-4-2, either with a double six and two eights or even in the diamond, in which Reus could play on the ten. In that case, however, Terzic would have to choose two of his three top centre-backs Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle at the back.
More important than the basic order on the tactical board, however, will be to set the scene for the two fast strikers against an opponent who is probably rather deep. Against Villarreal, this worked well despite the poor chance conversion, because Malen and Adeyemi found the gaps between the centre-backs and the respective full-backs, leaving enough space in the ten-man area for the onrushing Reus, Brandt or the advancing Bellingham, all of whom will most likely start for the Lions as well.