Wolfsburg (+340) vs. Dortmund (-114), Draw (+310)
Wolfsburg host Dortmund this Saturday (August 12th) for the first round of the 2017-18 Bundesliga season. Dortmund is off to a great start after beating Bayern Munich in the preseason DFL-Supercup while Wolfsburg is still just trying to hang on after narrowly avoiding relegation last season.
Ousmane Dembélé, Dortmund’s 20-year-old breakout star, continues to be linked with a move to Barcelona despite Dortmund’s fierce resistance. BVB have already knocked back a €100m offer from Camp Nou, but Barca need a replacement for Neymar and there’s a chance they’ll be upping their bid very soon. But whether he stays or goes is irrelevant when it comes to the opening match. Dortmund has suspended the young Frenchman after he missed a training session this week.
A month ago, it seemed inevitable that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would leave Dortmund. The 2016-17 Bundesliga top scorer had been linked to almost every major European club as well as the lucrative Chinese Super League. But for whatever reason a deal wasn’t reached and Aubameyang will once again start the season as Dortmund’s star striker.
That’s great news for Dortmund, especially now when so many of their key players are out injured. Star midfielder Marco Reus is still on the slow road to recovery (he missed 16 games last season due to injury); 21-year-old midfielder Julian Weigl is expecting a September return after breaking his ankle; Mario Gotze is back after five months out due to “metabolic disturbances” and it will take some time until he’s back in form; and American wunderkind Christian Pulisic sustained some injuries after opening the season with a stellar display against Bayern Munich.
That’s just the short-list of the setbacks Dortmund is dealing with at the moment. There are also fitness and injury issues with players like Raphaël Guerreiro, Marcel Schmelzer, and Sebastian Rode.
After a disastrous season that saw Wolfsburg avoid relegation by the skin of their teeth, Die Wölfe have done very little to rebuild over the summer. They brought on Hertha defender John Anthony Brooks (€17 million) and defensive midfielder Ignacio Camacho (€15 million), but other than that, there haven’t been any significant signings.
We’ve seen Wolfsburg get hollowed out over the last few years. Stars like Julian Draxler, André Schürrle, and of course, Kevin De Bruyne are no longer with the club and there hasn’t been anyone to replace them.
With so many injuries, Dortmund will have a slow start to the season. But even with the reduced squad currently available to them, they still have more than enough firepower to overcome Wolfsburg.
Pick: Dortmund (-114)
Photo Credit: Peter F (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0″>CC License]
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