HAMBURG, GERMANY - AUGUST 05: Sebastian Proedl (L) of Bremen and Robert Lewandowski (R) of Dortmund battle for the ball during the LIGA total! Cup 2012 final match between Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen at Imtech Arena on August 5, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany.(Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/GettyImages)
Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen kick off the Bundesliga season on Friday.
Borussia Dortmund kick off their Bundesliga title defense on Friday with a tough test against a Werder Bremen team that has added a couple of new pieces during the summer. Marko Marin has departed, but Chelsea were nice enough to offer up a direct replacement in Kevin De Bruyne. Eljero Elia has joined as well, and Zlatko Junuzovic is finally healthy and ready to step into a starting role.
Dortmund had a high profile departure of their own, with Shinji Kagawa leaving for Manchester United. He's been replaced nearly like-for-like with the less expensive but equally productive Marco Reus, who should fill Kagawa's role without an issue. Dortmund is also starting this season with Ilkay Gündogan firmly established as a starter in midfield after he struggled to earn his place in the team early last season.
Last week, the teams had very different results in the DFB-Pokal. Dortmund won 3-0 against FC Oberneuland with their first team on the pitch, while Werder's first team fell 4-2 to Preussen Münster after extra time. Sokratis Papastathopoulos was sent off in extra time of that match, killing off any chance of a Werder comeback.
Mats Hummels was rested last weekend and should come into the team to replace Felipe Santana. Dortmund are also likely to bring Mario Götze or Kevin Grosskreutz into the team in place of Ivan Perisic. Götze has been recovering from injury and made a substitute appearance against Oberneuland, but might not be ready to start by Friday.
Game Date/Time: Friday, 2:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. local
Venue: Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany
TV: GolTV (U.S. and Canada), ESPN (U.K.)