Our next opponents: Reyna's late goals and an emotional debut

Like the Werkself, Borussia Dortmund have started 2023 with two wins. But not everything is going to plan at the moment for BVB who visit the BayArena on Sunday 29 January (kick-off: 17.30 CET). Head coach Edin Terzic does again have a lot of alternatives in terms of line-up. Above all the return of striker Sebastien Haller after a long illness is a source of great joy at the Black and Yellows. The lowdown on our next opponents.


Borussia Dortmund have made a perfect start to 2023 in terms of points collected. With the two victories against FC Augsburg (4-3) and Mainz 05 (2-1), BVB have closed the gap to the leading group. At the end of the Hinrunde they were two points behind second-placed Union Berlin and league leaders Bayern were in reach again with their five-point advantage. However, a sober assessment brought self-critical words at BVB. "We have a lot of issues we urgently need to address," said head coach Edin Terzic after the hard-fought home win against Augsburg. And following the victory at Mainz, the 40-year-old admitted: "We were the lucky winners with almost the last move of the game. It could have gone any of three ways. We are happy we’ve picked up six points."

The fact it did not end with just two points is also due to the magic touch of the coach. Both times it was Giovanni Reyna who came off the bench to score the winner for BVB. Against Augsburg he scored on 80 minutes with an impressive shot to make it 4-3 after the Bavarian team had equalised three times. At Mainz the USA international scored with a tap-in in the third minute of added time with a headed assist from fellow substitute Sebastien Haller. "It doesn't always have to be attractive," said a happy Reyna, "but when you come off the bench you want to make the difference in a game like that."


Jude Bellingham is set to return to the starting line-up in Leverkusen on Sunday after missing the Mainz game due to a one-match ban. "At the moment he's irreplaceable for us," said Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl in summing up the significance of the England international to the club. It is possible that Giovanni Reyna will start after his two crucial strikes. It remains to be seen whether the recently injured Mats Hummels will be given preference to Niklas Süle in defence. In addition to the goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, the starting line-up should definitely include central defender Nico Schlotterbeck, who has started all 17 games this term, plus full-back Raphael Guerreiro and winter signing Julian Ryerson. The latter, signed from Union Berlin, scored his first goal for the Black and Yellows in the 2-1 win against Mainz.

The former Werkself player Julian Brandt is having an impressive season in midfield. Like Jude Bellingham, Brandt has scored four goals and provided three assists. The duo are the best scorers and providers in the team after striker Youssoufa Moukoko (six goals, four assists). The options in holding midfield are Salih Özcan and Emre Can. Marco Reus could return to the squad after being sidelined due to illness.

Terzic again has plenty of options in attack. In addition to the 18-year-old Moukoko, was recently extended his contract at BVB to 2026, and Anthony Modeste, Sebastien Haller is finally available again up front. The Ivory Coast international came on as a substitute against Augsburg to make an emotional debut for BVB after a long period out due to cancer. The 28-year-old then went on to set up the winner in the 2-1 victory at Mainz. How equally important Jamie Bynoe-Gittens is to Borussia was demonstrated by the Englishman in his comeback after a two-month lay off due to a shoulder injury. The 18-year-old winger scored to make it 3-2 against Augsburg. "We really missed him and he's showed us how good he is," declared a happy Terzic after the return of the big talent. BVB also has fast players on the flanks in the shape of Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi and Thorgan Hazard. The club announced on Friday the signing of the 16-year-old striker talent Julien Duranville from top-flight Belgian club Anderlecht.


Not many Bundesliga teams have such a concentration of offensive power as Borussia Dortmund. The potential of the group is enormous. However, they have not always made the most of it. No team in the Hinrunde won as many corners with only Bayern (339) having more shots on goal than BVB (250) and the Black and Yellows are also in the top three in terms of passes and pass completion. At the same point last season, they had already scored 41 goals – this time round it is ten less. Nevertheless: opponents have to be aware of the threat at set pieces, which hasn't been a weapon for Dortmund for a long time. The Black and Yellows have scored five goals in the last seven Bundesliga matches from dead balls including the winner at Mainz thanks to Giovanni Reina whose goal came from a corner by Julian Brandt and a headed assist from Sebastian Haller. "We’ve focused a lot on set pieces in the last few weeks," said Terzic, "we've worked on it nearly every day." And something else is worth noting: blessed are those who have a bench like the Black and Yellows. They are also the team with the most goals scored by substitutes in the league. Eight goals have been scored for Borussia by players coming off the bench.


The defence was not solid either in the 4-3 win against Augsburg or the 2-1 victory against Mainz. Ten goals conceded in the last four games is too many for a team with the aspirations of BVB. With the exception of the phase immediately after the 1-1 scoreline, the Terzic team lacked creativity in attack against Mainz and hardly posed a threat on goal. Dortmund have poor returns in terms of converting chances this term. The strikers Karim Adeyemi, signed from RB Salzburg in the summer, and Donyell Malen have not found their best form to date and have yet to score in the Bundesliga this season. Adeyemi scored 23 goals for Salzburg last season, Malen netted nine.


The two late-wins in the first fixtures in 2023 were definitely somewhat fortunate but the special quality of Dortmund is clear to see. "We've seen we have to earn the wins right up to the 90th minute and beyond," said Julian Brandt before adding: "We don't go 2-0 or 3-0 up and just produce a few tricks but instead we have to work hard and earn our rewards." The former Leverkusen player is convinced that at some point people will see the "the excellent football being played that is within us." BVB are now back in the running at the top of the table. If the defence is more solid then the Black and Yellows can challenge at the top. In the coming weeks the excellent squad will definitely have plenty of opportunities to show their quality against strong opponents in three competitions. The away game in Leverkusen is followed by SC Freiburg visiting Dortmund in a weeks time and that is followed by the Ruhr derby at VfL Bochum in the Round of 16 of the DFB Cup. The Champions League returns in the middle of February with the game against Chelsea at the Signal Iduna Park.

Related News

Europa League - 18.04.2024

Matchday news #WHUB04: Semi-finals firmly in sight

Return leg in London: tonight, Thursday 18 April (kick-off 21:00 CEST), the Werkself visit West Ham United. All the information you need on the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg at the London Stadium is in the Matchday News.

Show more
Die PK vor WHUB04 mit Xhaka und Alonso | Viertelfinale UEL
Werkself-TV - 17.04.2024

Alonso ahead of #WHUB04: “The players give me no doubt”

After the week’s celebrations of the club’s first ever league title, Bayer 04 are now focused once again on their UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg away at West Ham United on Thursday (kick-off: 9pm CEST). The Werkself are in a good position with a 2-0 lead from the first game, but it’s not over yet, as head coach Xabi Alonso and midfielder Granit Xhaka stressed at their pre-match press conference in London on Wednesday evening.

Show more
Bayer 04 - 17.04.2024

Eight Werkself stars nominated for Team of the Season

The German Football League (DFL) has launched the vote for the Bundesliga Team of the Season. As of now, fans of the Werkself can select no fewer than eight Bayer 04 players in the top XI of the 2023/24 campaign: on the shortlist are Lukas Hradecky, Jonathan Tah, Jeremie Frimpong, Alejandro Grimaldo, Granit Xhaka, Exequiel Palacios, Florian Wirtz and Victor Boniface. Voting closes on Monday 22 April at 9:00 CEST.

Show more
Frauen - 17.04.2024

Bayer 04 Women out to top last season’s tally in trip to Leipzig

Bayer 04 Women have the chance to surpass their points total from last season with three games remaining in the Google Pixel Bundesliga as they visit RB Leipzig for Matchday 19 on Friday (kick-off: 6.30pm CEST). Victory against the promoted side would take Robert de Pauw’s team onto 31 points, one more than they managed in their 22 fixtures in 2022/23.

Show more
Europa League - 16.04.2024

Our next opponents: West Ham aiming to turn the tide

In contrast to the Werkself, West Ham United didn’t experience an exhilarating Sunday at the weekend: for the first time in 23 years, the Hammers lost the London derby at home to Fulham in the Premier League. This Thursday, 18 April (kick-off: 21:00 CEST), West Ham will now be looking to overturn the 2-0 first-leg deficit in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg against Bayer 04.

Show more