Which Hoffenheim players would get into this Dortmund XI?
BVB suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat against top 4 rivals TSG 1899 Hoffenheim last weekend, this game was given even more importance and spice with a higher league position and Champions League football on offer for both clubs.
In recent years, Dortmund have been in regular European competition but although they’ll be playing in the competition next year, have finished behind Hoffenheim to 4th place leading to raptures from the Hoffenheim players and fans at full-time.
Along with Hoffenheim and manager Julian Nagelsmann’s rise in German football, perhaps yesterday’s performance shows that the tide is changing.
This highlights a point: How many of the Hoffenheim players from the weekend would get into the Borussia Dortmund side, replacing some of the current line-up?
Below I take a look at what a combined Borussia Dortmund & Hoffenheim XI would look like and why I’ve chosen some of the particular players:
Borussia Dortmund & Hoffenheim Xl
GK: Oliver Baumann
A well-recognized goalkeeper in the Bundesliga, Baumann has been playing at the highest level for almost 10 years and would be a real stalwart at the back of this combined XI.
The former Germany U21 international is much more commanding of his goal and would be a much-needed leader at the back of the Dortmund defence.
Burki has also been more mistake prone this season and has not been the same safe pair of gloves he has been in the last few years. So perhaps Baumann would be a much better option and be more reliable than the Swiss international.
RB: Pavel Kadeřábek
The 26-year-old has been one of the Bundesliga’s most consistent performers not just this season, but for the last few seasons as well and has fully earnt his place in this team.
Kadarabek has played 28 Bundesliga games this season and shown his attacking prowess with a goal and 3 assists from full-back, showing his prowess going forward.
The Czech Republic international is a player who will provide both attacking threat and defending ability at the back so he would be a solid and credible choice in this XI.
CB: Manuel Akanji
Even though Akanji started the season off poorly, the Switzerland U21 international has started to find his feet in this Dortmund side and looking much more comfortable at the back of this Dortmund side.
The 22-year-old looks to use his ball-playing style of play and start Dortmund attacks which is a real plus and weapon for this XI to exploit when possible.
Akanji’s young age means he’s still a real prospect in the game and if given the right coaching, could be a really good addition to this team.
CB: Kevin Vogt
Vogt is that much-needed presence at the back and makes a real difference when he plays, both through his own performance and he also brings a mutual level of confidence in the rest of his defensive back-line.
The former Germany U21 international also offers a technical ability on the ball which allows his team to play out from the back and feel confident in doing so, maintaining an average successful passing percentage of 89%.
These two centre-halves are arguably the two ‘better’ choices which is why I feel if you were to play the two together, (with Akanji learning off Vogt) it would make this combined XI a much stronger force than usual or if the two were separate.
LB: Marcel Schmelzer
Schmelzer has been one of the league’s most consistent full-backs for a number of years and would’ve provide this team with a much needed experienced head.
The German international also provides attacking threat and the fact has been playing in a back-three on the left-hand side makes him all the more valuable in the modern game.
He has been playing in the top level of Germany for many years now, so would be able to provide his knowledge on the league to the likes of Akanji still learning his trade.
CM: Julian Weigl
Julian Weigl is another young prospect who has shown in previous seasons that he can become one of the best holding midfielders in the world, if he continues to work hard both in training and in games.
Admittedly, the German has had a mixed season so far, coming in and out of the side with the odd run in the side when performing at his best. But perhaps manager Peter Stoger has been unfairly not playing the 22-year-old and costing him the opportunity to learn the game.
The youngster showed in the last few seasons that he has the ability to control play in the centre of midfield and dictate the speed at which his side will play.
CM: Nico Schulz
Schulz provides a lot more attacking threat than Weigl and his pace in the centre of the midfield would cause real problems to oppositions going forward.
This pace allows the 25-year-old ability to help out when going forward and tracking back is vital in any successful team and is exactly what’s needed in this starting XI.
His tally of 2 goals and 4 assists in 27 Bundesliga games shows that he is capable of providing for his team both when it comes to scoring the goals or setting them up for his team-mates.
Schulz is also quite versatile having played at left-back during his short career, so this versatility is another benefit to having the midfielder in this side.
RM: Christian Pulisic
The young American has been a real attacking spark for Dortmund this season, similarly to what Julian Weigl has been for the side defensively, there is a clear difference when he’s playing to when he isn’t.
The wide-man did have a quiet game in this weekend’s Revierderby but the 19-year-old has been one of the best Dortmund performers this year.
The 19-year-old has 4 goals and 6 assists in the Bundesliga which puts him right up in one of the highest number of contributing to Dortmund’s goal in the league.
Even at his young age, he has already played 69 games for Dortmund showing that he is capable of playing at the highest level already and will continue to do so for many years to come.
LM: Andrej Kramaric
The Croatian has been one of the best performers not just for Hoffenheim, but in the entire Bundesliga league, showing the kind of form that has many clubs in Europe keeping a close eye on him.
The forward has had his most prolific season since joining from English side Leicester City back in 2016 with 13 goals and 8 assists and is finally starting to prove that he is capable of playing in one of the biggest leagues in Europe.
If his performance last weekend was anything to go by, then it was proof that he can be a real nuisance in this side and can perform at a higher level than any of Dortmund’s current wide-man.
CAM: Marco Reus
Marco Reus has been the standout player for this Dortmund side for many years and his inclusion in this team is a guaranteed pick.
His season has yet again been unfortunately plagued by injury but in the recent games he’s played, he’s made a real difference, both personally and instilling confidence to perform in others.
Despite only playing 11 games in the Bundesliga, he’s still managed 7 goals which puts him right up there with the remainder of the top scorers in the Borussia Dortmund side.
Reus, much like he is in the current Dortmund side would be a real game-changer and that world-class players many world-class teams need in order to achieve both domestic and European success.
ST: Mark Uth
Another star performer for Hoffenheim is their top scorer Mark Uth, who has had one of his most successful seasons in the Bundesliga with 14 goals and 8 assists.
Uth’s performances this year have earnt him a move to both Hoffenheim and Dortmund’s rivals FC Schalke after the expiration of his contract in the summer where he’ll be hoping to test himself at the highest level once again.
Despite not having the best game against Dortmund, he’s still proven this season that he’s able to play at the top level.
He is exactly what this team needs, a real dynamic forward who can score all kinds of goals but has also played with a strike partner for a while, so would feel comfortable in this team and hopefully successful in it as well.
So what does this mean?
So a total of 6 Hoffenheim players out of the 11 which I feel would not only make a difference, but improve this current Dortmund side, who will be looking to some real investment once the summer transfer window opens to overcome this disappointing season.
This top four clash just shows that not only how far Hoffenheim have come in the last few years, but how badly Dortmund have fallen this season. The disappointed looks of Dortmund fans, players and coaching staff alike signifies what a lesser performance it’s been the once Bundesliga champions this season.
The manager should be one of these members who’s replaced as both he and the club seem like they’ve seen enough of each other to move on next season.
Dortmund do, however, need to move on from both this frustrating result and frustrating season as a whole and look ahead to next year where they’ll hopefully be looking to challenge both domestically and in Europe again.
Hoffenheim meanwhile will take confidence and form from this victory and their season as a whole with their highly-regarded manager Julian Nagelsmann at the helm as they look to contest against Dortmund both in the league and in the Champions League for the third successive season next year.