Dortmund host Gladbach in curtain raiser
The cracker of the opening Bundesliga slate is certainly Borussia Dortmund versus Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday evening. Two of last season’s top four facing off, just four points separated the two in 2019/20 with Dortmund in second and Gladbach in fourth. Marco Rose was one of the managers of the season last term, without the heroics of Hansi Flick and Julien Nagelsmann he would have been a shoe in, arguably too reliant on a couple of attacking players the Foals fought off late competition from Bayer Leverkusen to secure qualification for the Champions League.
Given the threat Rose’s men pose, Dortmund are far too short at around 1.6. The constant speculation around club prized asset Jadon Sancho will not have been healthy and it would not be a shock to see Swiss coach Lucien Favre use the Englishman sparingly in the opening knockings of the campaign. Achraf Hakimi’s return to Real Madrid and prompt move to Inter Milan is a huge hole in the Dortmund attack, he provided crucial thrust and creativity down the right such that may not be replaced by the fading talents of the incoming Thomas Meunier. Not a lot of value in backing BVB.
Dortmund have been the busier of the two with three notable permanent deals alongside a loan. The most rough and ready signature is the one of Emre Can who was pivotal in his loan spell at the club in the second half of the season, he joins for £22.5million from Juventus, arguably a snip of what his true value would be before the impact COVID-19 has had on the transfer market.
After an eye-catching season with Birmingham City, bossing games from central midfield coming into the team as a 16-year-old, Jude Bellingham is the latest wonderkid on BVB’s books to go with the likes of Giovanni Reyna and Erling Haaland. The Englishman has a tremendous physique enabling him to compete with players much older than him, it will be interesting to see how Lucien Favre phases him in.
The 2019/20 runners up snapped at the chance to secure Thomas Meunier was out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain, though it was a sour end for the Belgian in Ligue 1 losing his place to young German Thilo Kehrer towards the end of the season as it was made clear early on that he had no future at the Parc des Princes. Reinier also comes in on loan from Real Madrid as a relative unknown, this loan spell set to be the start of the 18-year-old’s development away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
Dortmund look the stronger and more creative side, but on the first day who knows, expect Gladbach to get a foothold.