Tired and decimated Dortmund travel to Hoffenheim

Posted by Stefan Buczko

"One or two beers are allowed. There even is a happy hour in our hotel, so the boys don't have to pay," said Juergen Klopp after Borussia's dramatic win in the Champions League. And topping the group -- given all the circumstances -- has to be celebrated accordingly.

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Yet, Hoffenheim's Markus Gisdol, who was invited as guest-pundit for the Champions League night on German pay television, was probably secretly rubbing his hands.

Sadly, happy hour is over for Dortmund, as the next very hard obstacle lies ahead. It is time to put away the rose-tinted glasses and look into the grim eye of Bundesliga realism as Borussia Dortmund travel to Hoffenheim. BVB have only won one of their last three Bundesliga games: a very scrappy win in Mainz. I'm not too optimistic about Saturday.

Kinderriegel or Grosskreutz?

The personnel situation doesn't look too good for Dortmund. Manuel Friedrich could hardly train during the week with an infected toe, which means he could also miss. Sokratis Papastathopoulos is out because of his very 'clever' suspension from the Leverkusen match. First choice makeshift center back (hysterical sobbing) Sven Bender is also still out injured, which leaves Klopp with three choices for the center back Situation.

Koray Guenter, Marian Sarr and Kevin Grosskreutz are the three choices for the two positions Klopp has named. I think it's pretty safe to say that Sarr is set for his Bundesliga debut.

If we will get the infamous "Kinderriegel" -- named in reference to the German chocolate bar and literally translates into "kiddy bolt" -- with the 18 and 19-year-old Sarr and Guenter, or if Grosskreutz will be shifted into that position, remains to be seen.

I personally would prefer said Kinderriegel, as Grosskreutz doesn't quite convince me at the center back position. Even though a team of eleven Grosskreutzes would probably be unbeatable.

Hoffenheim ready to fight

Klopp underlined several times that he wants his team to squeeze out everything that is left for the last two Bundesliga games and ideally gain six points. He also wants to avoid the "bloody headlines" of Dortmund's Champions League hangover, but I doubt he will. His side looked frightenly tired in the past games and especially against Marseille you could see that there is not much left in the tank.

If fan culture is not relevant to you, and just the pure football on the pitch, Hoffenheim is one of the most entertaining teams this season. They have the third-best offense in the league with 34 goals scored (BVB 35), but also the worst defense with 35 goals conceded, phantom goal included. TSG Hoffenheim are just bonkers as no lead seems to be safe and dominating opposition and creating loads of chances is in their DNA, just as giving away several cheap goals within minutes.

With a very young and talented attack boasting the likes of Kevin Volland -- who we might see in a yellow jersey soon -- plus Roberto Firmino and Sven Schipplock, they will be looking get forward against a hampered BVB backline. Dortmund's backline will definitely be tested more often than it was against Marseille.

I fear the energetic Hoffenheim attack could just be too much for Dortmund, who just can't bring the intensity on the pitch. At least Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was rested and maybe players like Julian Schieber and Jonas Hofmann should start, just for the sake of fresh legs.

At least we can all look ahead to an entertaining match with a lot of goals, as Hoffenheim are very prone to lapses in defense. It is definitely a test for Dortmund's maturity to maybe win a game against a motivated Bundesliga mid-table team with only 75% of stamina available.


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