Borussia Dortmund take on Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Alongside Bayern Munich, BVB are the only other team with a 100% record after two matches, while newly-promoted Bremen are unbeaten with two draws.
Indeed, Dortmund showed the sort of spirit which has not always been evident at the club in recent years by coming from a goal behind to beat Freiburg 3-1 away from home last Friday.
Debutant Anthony Modeste snatched at an early opportunity before the hosts’ growing pressure paid off, with Christian Gunter‘s trademark cross from the left-flank finding Matthias Ginter at the back post. The defender kept the ball alive for Michael Gregoritsch to loop a header over Gregor Kobel and into the top corner of the net.
With his side clearly not playing particularly well, Edin Terzic wasted little time in turning to his bench in the second half, with three substitutes ultimately getting themselves on the scoresheet in a masterful display of in-game management.
Jamie Bynoe-Gittens – who has since been rewarded with a new three-year contract this week – scored his first goal for the club with a speculative effort from 25 yards, as Mark Flekken‘s attempted catch went horribly wrong, before another teenage substitute turned the game on its head as Youssoufa Moukoko ruthlessly pounced on a loose ball to fire the visitors ahead in the 84th minute.
Marius Wolf confidently cut inside from the right flank before firing into the bottom corner with his weaker left foot to wrap up the three points and ensure that Dortmund exited a tricky fixture by keeping pace with Bayern at the top of the table. They must ensure that they continue to do so until they meet at Westfalenstadion on October 8.
Bremen, meanwhile, would surely have taken two points from two games upon their return to the Bundesliga, with two 2-2 draws ensuring their fans have not been left disappointed in terms of both entertainment and results.
Niclas Fullkrug continues to go from strength to strength, with the powerful forward’s bullet header from 12 yards opening the scoring against Stuttgart after just four minutes last weekend. He almost made it two when his strike partner Marvin Ducksch showed excellent awareness to tee him up on the edge of the area, with Fullkrug’s effort crashing back off the bar.
Stuttgart levelled before the break through Wataru Endo‘s vicious strike from distance after some neat interplay from his teammates, before Sasa Kalajdzic‘s slide-rule pass found Silas, who ran through on goal and never looked like missing to provide the visitors with a 77th-minute lead.
However, Bremen were not to be beaten as substitute Oliver Burke opened his account for the club by latching onto a long ball and prodding the ball past a helpless Florian Muller in the opposition goal to send the home fans into ecstasy with a 95th-minute equaliser.
Having conceded four goals in two games, head coach Ole Werner will hope to tighten his defence up ahead of a tricky test at Dortmund, but he will be confident that his in-form strikers can pose plenty of problems going the other way.
Karim Adeyemi (toe) and Niklas Sule (muscle) may be forced to sit out at least one more match with injuries sustained in recent matches, while Sebastien Haller continues his long recovery from having a testicular tumour removed, so Modeste should lead the line to make his home debut.
After the likes of Moukoko, Bynoe-Gittens and Wolf made such a tremendous impact off the bench against Freiburg, Terzic may be tempted to change his starting XI, but he is more likely to go with the same again and look towards the trio should things not be going his side’s way against Bremen.
Mateu Morey and Giovanni Reyna are short of match fitness and are unlikely to be involved.
Werder Bremen, meanwhile, will travel without the injured duo of Jean Manuel Mbom (Achilles) and Dikeni Salifou (abductor), while Eren Dinkci is short of match fitness and unlikely to make the trip.
Christian Groß missed last week’s draw against Stuttgart due to an infection, but the midfielder should be available to return to the side in place of Ilia Gruev.
Otherwise, Werner is unlikely to make any changes, with former Sheffield United forward Burke on standby to make a huge impact from the bench once again.
Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Meunier, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro; Dahoud, Bellingham; Hazard, Reus, Malen; Modeste
Werder Bremen possible starting lineup:
Pavlenka; Pieper, Veljkovic, Friedl; Weiser, Bittencourt, Stage, Groß, Jung; Fullkrug, Ducksch