Borussia Dortmund: What to Watch For Against Standard Liège


Today Borussia Dortmund take another step back to playing actual Bundesliga matches when they take on Belgium side Standard Liege.

While the results of today’s match will be quickly forgotten, I’ve stated in the past just how important these winter friendlies can be for players attempting to establish their place in the squad.  Christian Pulisic famously began his first team career during these friendlies so there will be some form of interest to be gained from watching the show.

First and foremost I need to see how the striker situation is sorted out.  It seems as if every club has a favorite backup striker who supporters clamor to see more of.  Only when that opportunity arises it quickly becomes apparent why he was indeed the backup in the first place.

More from BVB Buzz

Without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty Borussia Dortmund will likely turn to Adrian Ramos and Andre Schurrle to handle the striker duties.  Marco Rues and a few lesser names could also see a look, but the storyline is how Ramos and Schurrle handle the added minutes.  In the first friendly match, both played quite well and Schurrle even scored a nice half-volley from an Emre Mor chip.

I’m interested to see how the movement of Schurrle, in particular, looks against a Standard Liege side that will probably play very deep.  I’ve been critical of BVB’s ability to attack against deep lying defensive blocks with Aubameyang so if Schurrle can give a different feel perhaps his ability to sub late in matches goes up.

With Aubameyang gone for a couple of real matches, I would like to see who the starter will be sorted out and this match will provide another opportunity for someone to impress.

The second thing I want to see is a wing pairing of Christian Pulisic and Emre Mor plus Ousmane Dembele playing through the middle.  These three are the most promising young players Borussia Dortmund have and I would absolutely love to see all three featured at the same time.  Mor and Pulisic offer so much pace and daring on the wings and Dembele is already one of the better players in the squad.  Every chance manager Thomas Tuchel has to grow these players together and build a chemistry between the three would be beneficial down the road.

Finally, and I could put this every match, I want to see how the defensive midfielders and back line handle the inevitable Standard Liege counter.  The fantastic article that I tweeted out a few days ago discussed how the disorganized pressing after the initial turnover combined with an at times disorganized buildup has led to the backline being exposed frequently.

Next: 5 Biggest Matches in 2017

That is a huge problem going forward, especially so in Champions League where the big clubs can punish that kind of mistake easily.  Against a lesser opponent, I want to see if Borussia Dortmund can be properly positioned and generate a coherent press.

A theory of mine as to my the club is disorganized so often is the high level of turnover in the squad selection, so using this time to build chemistry among different lineups and player groupings is the final thing to watch.

Enjoy the match, it kicks off at 1 PM eastern time.  I’m still looking to find a stream, but keep tuned into the Twitter for information when I find it.