Marco Reus returns to face his old club for the first time since leaving last summer as Borussia Dortmund travel to Borussia Park to take on Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday. In the reverse fixture back in the end of September, BVB just demolished Gladbach to the tune of 5-0 in front of more than 80,000 at the Westfalenstadion.
Injuries and suspensions will play their part in making Sunday's affair a little less star-studded. Gladbach will be without midfielders Patrick Herrmann and Juan Arango, while BVB will miss forwards Robert Lewandowski and Julian Schieber. The four have combined for twenty five goals and twelve assists so far. BVB will also potentially be missing Jakub Blaszczykowski, and nobody really likes to see Kuba miss a game.
Gladbach have only won once in 2013, and it'll be a tough task for them to grab win number two against BVB. Dare I say a Herculean effort? Probably somewhere close to that. The fact that BVB will be throwing Reus onto the pitch is bad enough new for any opponent. The 23 year old has done some absolutely magical stuff on the field for BVB thus far, and every week it's more like that he'll "wow" you rather than get stopped by the opposition. Reus has fourteen goals to his name in all competitions, and he scored a hattrick the last time he played. He had two goals the last time these two sides faced.
The hosts need a solid first half to keep everyone focused on "Can Gladbach win this match?" instead of "Can Gladbach prevent a blowout?". If their "Back 7" play well, then Gladbach stand a shot here. It obviously starts in goal with Marc Andre ter Stegen. The young goalkeeper hasn't been as good as he was last year, and I think that may have a lot to do with not having Dante in front of him this season. However, Gladbach will need a perfect match from him in goal if they're to win this match. He'll need help from his back four of Tony Jantschke, Alvaro Dominguez, Martin Stranzl, and Oscar Wendt. All of those guys need to play well for Gladbach to win, but none may be as important as Thorben Marx and Havard Nordtveit in the middle of the park. The two central midfielders are going to be crucial to pressuring BVB's attack before they can get free runs at the Gladbach defense and cause havoc.
Klopp has an interesting dilemma for this match. Beginning tomorrow, BVB will play five matches in fourteen days. Sunday, they're away to Borussia Mönchengladbah. Wednesday, they're away to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the DFB Pokal. Next Saturday, they host Hannover in the league. A week from Tuesday, Shakhtar Donetsk travel to Dortmund for the second leg of their Champions League tie. Then, BVB will travel to the Veltins Arena for the second Revierderby of the season against Schalke. BVB doesn't have the deepest of squads, so Klopp's management over the next two weeks will be massively important.
Borussia Mönchengladbach injuries and suspensions
Out: Patrick Herrmann (suspended), Juan Arango (ankle).
Herrmann is suspended for the match due to yellow card accumulation, but his loss won't be felt as much as the other player out. Juan Arango picked up an ankle knock against Lazio midweek in the Europa League and hasn't recovered enough to feature this weekend. This is a massive loss for Gladbach. Arango has started every single league match this season at left midfield, and it'll be difficult for Gladbach to replace his left foot out there and on set pieces. The likely replacement out wide is Finnish midfielder Alexander Ring.
Borussia Dortmund injuries and suspensions
Out: Robert Lewandowski (suspended), Patrick Owomoyela (leg), Julian Schieber (suspended). Doubtful: Jakub Blaszczykowski (hip)
With Lewandowski and Schieber missing out due to picking up stupid red cards in recent weeks, the decision for Jürgen Klopp is an interesting one. One option getting a lot of run is to bring up Hungarian Bálint Bajner from the reserves and give him his first run out with the first team. He went with the first team to La Manga during the winter break and showed well, but there is another option. Klopp could deploy Mario Götze as a false nine and see what they can do. If Blaszczykowski is forced out due to his hip, it could force Klopp's hand into bringing up Bajner at that point.
Match Date/Time: 15:30 CET, 9:30 a.m. ET
Venue: Borussia Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
TV: Gol TV (U.S.), Gol TV (Canada), Sky Sport 1 (Germany)
Streaming: William Hill (UK), Sky Go (Germany)