Fresh off their Champions League loss to Napoli, Dortmund head to Nuernberg on Saturday. The loss at the San Paolo was the first time BVB failed to win a competitive match this season. And now comes a big test for Juergen Klopp's side, as they try to find their form three days after being forced to field 10 men for the second half of the Napoli match.
Last season, BVB won just two Bundesliga matches that followed their Champions League group stage fixtures, and by midseason the two-time defending domestic champions had effectively surrendered the title to Bayern.
Nuernberg are well aware of BVB's struggles from last season and will be keen to hold onto their point or even go for more. Although they only have three points from their first five matches, Michael Wiesinger's men have only been defeated twice—in one instance to indomitable treble winners Bayern.
Der Club will be no pushovers in a match that will be particularly special for Daniel Ginczek as he takes on his former club for the first time. Following two seasons on loan in the 2. Bundesliga, the striker completed his transfer to 1.FCN this summer and is finally playing in the German top flight. He will be especially motivated.
Recent history decidedly stands in favor of BVB, however. The Ruhr side have won all but one of their matches against Nuernberg in a streak that dates back to the spring of 2008. And all but one of their wins was by at least a two-goal margin. Streaks were made to be broken, though. Will it be Nuernberg's day? Or will BVB continue their conquest? Tune in on Saturday as all the drama unfolds.
When: Saturday, Sep. 21 at 9:30 a.m. ET (3:30 p.m. CET)
Where: Grundig-Stadion, Nuernberg
Nuernberg Player to Watch: Daniel Ginczek
Born and raised in Arnsberg, about 50km from the Signal-Iduna Park, Daniel Ginczek was under contract at BVB until this season. He never quite made it as a Dortmund player and spent loan spells at Bochum and St Pauli, where he flourished, before finding his way to Nuernberg.
An imposing striker with great shooting technique, the 22-year-old finished joint-runner-up in the 2. Bundesliga scoring charts last season with 18 goals. And he surely will relish the chance to put one past his former club.
Dortmund Player to Watch: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
New BVB signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had a scintillating start to the season overall, but his displays have been confined to isolated performances. In the Bundesliga, he had a hat-trick in the season opener in Augsburg before going three weeks with neither a goal nor an assist. But against Hamburg last weekend, he scored two and assisted two more.
If he has a good day, Aubameyang can wreck Nuernberg's defense. But that's a big "if."
Dortmund have enjoyed a perfect start to their season but face a deceptively difficult challenge if they are to keep that streak alive. Nuernberg may stand in the relegation zone, currently, but they have only lost two of their five matches and will play at home.
BVB are on the road following a very difficult task at Napoli just three days prior to the match, and rotation in key areas will not be an option due to injuries to Ilkay Gundogan and Sebastian Kehl. The Ruhr side may be capable of anything, but for now it seems a draw is the most likely outcome.
Nuernberg 1-1 Dortmund