Borussia Dortmund will round off the first English week of the calendar year with a trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Friday evening (20:30 CET). It will also be the opening game of the second half of the 2020/21 season.
With only 46 hours separating the end of Matchday 17 and the start of Matchday 18, the Borussia Dortmund management do not have much time to analyse the first half of the campaign and draw conclusions. "We believe we've done our homework in the Champions League and in the DFB Cup but that we're lagging a few points behind our expectations and standards in the league," explained sporting director Michael Zorc. "We have one point fewer than at the same stage of last season, but then we went on to have a very good second half of the season. That's the expectation now too." With 17 rounds of matches played in the 2020/21 season, BVB sit fourth in the table with 29 points.
The Bundesliga clash with Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday evening, which the Black & Yellows lost 2-1, was a talking point again on Thursday. "We've drawn our conclusions from it," said BVB head coach Edin Terzic. "We've discussed the Leverkusen match in detail and we expect the lads to produce a different performance tomorrow." The coaching staff were particularly dissatisfied with the body language in the first half. "But we know from the game in Leipzig, for example, that we can do better and now it's a matter of flipping the switch once again."
Opponents Mönchengladbach picked up one point fewer than BVB in the first half of the season and currently sit in seventh place. The other Borussia are still unbeaten in 2021 and have three wins (against Arminia, Bayern and Werder) and one draw (against Stuttgart) from their four games since the turn of the year. Terzic said: "From their victories against Leipzig and Bayern, plus their performances in the Champions League, you can see what their team is capable of. They have one point fewer than us. We want to try to make it four points tomorrow."
The Black & Yellows won the reverse fixture in September 3-0 thanks to goals from Reyna and Haaland (two). In fact, Borussia Dortmund have won every single one of their last 11 Bundesliga meetings with Borussia Mönchengladbach, and have also beaten the Foals once in the cup during that time too.
With Thomas Delaney suspended against Mönchengladbach, Terzic will have no choice but to reshuffle his defensive midfield again on Friday. "We have some very good lads in the central positions and many alternatives. To date, we've been happy with our selection for every starting XI – regardless of who has been playing in the centre," said Terzic. Emre Can is eligible to play after serving his suspension. Axel Witsel (torn Achilles tendon), Dan-Axel Zagadou (torn muscle fibre), Thorgan Hazard (torn muscle fibre) and Marcel Schmelzer (rehab following knee operation) remain unavailable.