Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen: How Jurgen Klopp's Side Will Line Up

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2014

Dortmund's Ciro Immobile and Bayern's Gianluca Gaudino challenge for the ball with during the German soccer Super Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in Dortmund, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Sascha Schuermann)
Sascha Schuermann/Associated Press

Last season's Bundesliga runner-ups, Borussia Dortmund, begin their new quest for German silverware Saturday with a tricky encounter against Bayer Leverkusen at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. 

Although the Factory Squad lost former coach Sami Hyypia last season, they have managed to bring in young, exciting manager Roger Schmidt from Red Bull Salzburg alongside the signings of Hakan Calhanoglu from Hamburg among others to join striker Josip Drmic in this new-look side. 

Dortmund have, of course, strengthened heavily this summer, too, with Jurgen Klopp bringing in strikers Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos as well as central defender Matthias Ginter to form what many consider a much stronger-looking team than last season's. 

Whichever way you look at it, these are two clubs who should be putting out rather new and untested teams Saturday. 

Klopp will, as ever, be wary of injuries on his squad, and as such we should expect to see the German coach shuffle his team around to accommodate certain positions ahead of this tough test.  

In an interview on the club website Thursday, Klopp confirmed that up to 10 first-team players would be out of the game. 

As such we should expect to see a rather rejigged back line for Dortmund Saturday. In the press conference, the coach confirmed that Marcel Schmelzer was suffering from "scarred tissue" from an old hamstring injury and wouldn't be able to play while Mats Hummels was also still not fully recovered from his return from the World Cup.

Klopp was rather optimistic in spite of such injuries, stating, "This position is the least of our problems,” in said conference when asked about the injured centre-back. And so he should be with Neven Subotic, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Ginter to choose from. 


This will undoubtedly leave Dortmund's back line looking like the graphic above, showing Erik Durm at left-back, Lukasz Piszczek at right-back with Subotic and Papastathopoulos in as the central pairing. 

Dortmund's midfield has also taken quite a hit over the summer months, with Oliver Kirch looking likely to be out for up to two months with a torn thigh muscle while Nuri Sahin and Ilkay Gundogan both look to return to light training following injuries of their own. 

This will undoubtedly mean a starting spot for Sven Bender in the sole defensive midfielder role while Milos Jojic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan sit in front of what should be a midfield trio. 


Jojic is naturally a central midfielder, so he should slot in perfectly. But he does lack the experience of playing in such an important game as well as any consistent form since joining the club. If he does indeed start Saturday, it should prove quite a test for the Serbian international. 

Alongside him, we should see Mkhitaryan take up his usual role as the No. 10 of choice for Klopp. The Armenian international has looked in fantastic form over the course of the pre-season and should prove vital to any of Dortmund's attacking threat. 

Another blow to Klopp's starting team will be the recent injuries to Ramos and recent singing Dong-Won Ji, who both picked up injuries in the past week. The Colombian striker will be out of action for the foreseeable future with a minor knee strain while Dong-Won was pulled up with a groin strain. 


As such we should see Marco Reus on his favoured left, following his miraculous return against Kickers Stuttgarter last week as well as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the right. A position that the forward occupied so well against Bayern Munich in the Super Cup two weeks ago. 

Leverkusen have had a rather notoriously slow defensive line over the past few seasons, and Klopp will be confident that Aubameyang can expose the space behind their back line in the same manner that he did against Bayern. 

In the sole striker position, we'll have Ciro Immobile out of sheer necessity, considering the injuries to the other strikers at the club and simply through his own merit, too. Klopp will be desperate to get the young, Italian talent on his way in terms of league goals and will be hopeful that Leverkusen prove the perfect opportunity for him to open his new Bundesliga account.