OK, kind of a tough group. Not because the other teams are particularly good, but because all of the teams are so tightly grouped in quality.
Amazing to see how low PSG has fallen, and, of course, they always suck in UCL. Newcastle are up there based on last seasons results, but they are probably not that good. AC Milan is probably fairly ranked, but Dortmund…well…we all seen their recent form. So here’s September:
01.09 FriDortmund vs FC Heidenheim – 11:30am, ESPN+ 2-2
16.09 Sat Freiburg vs Dortmund – 6:30am, ESPN+
19.09 Tue Paris SG vs Dortmund – 12:00pm, Paramount +
23.09 Sat – Dortmund vs VfL Wolfsburg – 6:30am, ESPN+
Out of Champions League, disappointing result in the Derby. Keeping tabs on who’s injured and who’s not. After 10 straight victories, setting new records, it’s back down to earth again.
Long time fans will recognize this roller coaster of emotions as a typical Rückrunde, but here’s the difference: The team seems to have fixed a lot of its issues this year (defense, set pieces, mentality) and the Coach is not in danger of losing his job.
With that in mind, we are still looking at three meet-ups in a row. That too is probably a record. So after the Derby, two more big weekends.
Borussia Dortmund vs Köln – March 18 at 10:30am @ LA Draught
You may remember our sad showing in Köln last October. Alexander Meyer started, along with Anthony Modeste. Brandt scored our single goal. Tigges put the game away for Köln. This time may be very different. Haller is up front, and Kobel should be back. Reus should also be back.
Köln is sitting at 12th in the table coming off a 2-0 defeat to Bochum. They are not having a good year. Will this match put us back on winning ways?
Bayern München vs Borussia Dortmund – April 1 at 9:30am @ LA Draught
I can’t say I like the Der Klassiker title added to this match, but if it generates more interest in the Bundesliga… If you remember back to the Hinrunde, we played them to a 2-2 draw with Anthony Modeste supplying a miracle header for the tie.
I won’t make any predictions this time around, but I will say that if Adeyemi, Brandt, Kobel and Reus are all healthy, we can go toe to toe with the current Bayern team.
Nine games in a row. A new record! Games won in league, a game won in the Pokal and a first leg match won in UCL. All good in January and February. The future looks bright!
The downside is, we had an easy schedule in February with Bochum, Hertha and Hoffenheim. March is more daunting.
Mar 03, 11:30am, Fri: Borussia Dortmund vs RasenBall (BUN22)
Mar 07, 12pm, Tue: Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund (UCL)
Mar 11, 9:30am, Sat: Sch*lke vs Borussia Dortmund (BUN23)
Mar 18, 10:30am, Sat: Borussia Dortmund vs Köln (BUN24)
When Karim Adeyemi went down for a minimum two weeks, there was a lot of gloom. He was the star against Chelsea for one shining moment. We heard “Here it comes again! Injuries!”
But really, our injury list is tiny compared to previous years and even the first half of the season. Our defense has solidified, our pressing is organized. Forward play looks pretty again, with smooth and delicious movement into the box. Since Can has come back to the midfield together with Özcan, we have a steel curtain look.
None of this is by accident. This is the team that Edin has been working for, but never had the healthy players to implement. This team has turned a corner.
In March we will have the rare opportunity to meet up three times in a row. (OK, that includes April 1 versus Bayern). March 11 is our second leg Derby against the Baby Blues. March 18 versus Köln is at a reasonable 10:30am.
The Bayern Match is still TBA, but it’s hard to believe that it won’t be the feature match of the day. Stay tuned.
OK, stealing titles from Star Wars now. Mea Culpa! We can all feel the difference this season and most of us are feeling optimistic. Let’s review:
Players out: Erling Haaland, Steffen Tigges, Roman Bürki, Marvin Hitz, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Axel Witsel, Marcel Schmelzer, Reinier, Marin Pongracic.
I liked Bürki and Hitz, I was sad that Zags couldn’t get over his injuries. That’s about it. Haaland always seemed like a sideshow to me, taking the focus away from the team. Maybe that’s just me being salty. Rumors are abounding about Akanji, about Rapha, about Schulz, about Hazard. Can’t say what will happen, but (at least) Rapha has been a favorite from the beginning. Would hate to see him go.
Players in: Karim Adeyemi, Nico Schlotterbeck, Salih Özcan, Niklas Süle, Jayden Braaf, Alexander Meyer, Sebastian Haller.
Can you feel the defense? Nico and Süle lined up in front of Kobel? Özcan in Defensive Mid? A back three with Hummels?
…and the offensive possibilities? Adeyemi will be a star no matter where he lines up. Malen will feed off that sort of creativity. Haller will be a center target like all Dortmund strikers of the past.
July 05, 10am, Tue: Lüner SV vs Borussia Dortmund (PRE)
July 09, 8am, Sat: Dynamo Dresden vs Borussia Dortmund (PRE)
July 14, 9am, Thu: Verl vs Borussia Dortmund (PRE)
July 15, Fri: Training Camp – Bad Ragaz (PRE)
July 18, 10am, Mon: Borussia Dortmund vs Valencia (PRE)
July 22, 10am, Fri: Borussia Dortmund vs Villarreal (PRE)
July 29, 11:45am, Fri: 1860 München vs Dortmund (POK1)
A great bunch of pre-season matches this year. Valencia and Villareal should give us a good idea what Terzic is thinking. Then our first trip to München for the season. Not the match we were anticipating, but a solid Pokal opener.
The Bundesliga opener will be our first chance for a meetup:
Aug 06, 9:30am, Sat: Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen (BUN1)
This season, as last season, we’ll meet at LA Draught on Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica. Let’s get a crowd out.