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Mainz v. Dortmund Without Bosz: A Preview

I've been freaking out the last two days because I'm probably going to start writing for one of the big BVB fan sites, and I'm terrified I'm going to screw it up and write dogshit articles. See, that's the beauty of Straight Outta Hershey. I'm dictator for life here. I can write whatever I want an no one can veto it or edit it because I am the editor. I am the writer and also the editor, creative director, number one fan, etc.

But anyway, let's start talking about the Mainz v. Dortmund game that will be happening tomorrow evening at the Opel Arena in Mainz and which cha boi (me) will be attending in the flesh and/or blood. I'm a little bummed the game is at 8:30pm because that means I'll be getting home late, train connections might be dicey, and I won't get much sleep before flying to Dallas the next day and back to Seattle. Because, as of Wednesday, cha boi (still me) will be Stateside. As usual, I'm pretty stoked. Gonna get a job, gonnna --

Jesus, I'm sorry. This is supposed to be about Mainz v. Dortmund. And it's also supposed to be about cha boi (Christian Pulisic this time).

Let's start by examining BVB's new coach, Peter Stoger. What do we know about him? Well, we know he turned things around at Koln, pulling them out of the second division. We know this is now the THIRD TIME he's come in mid-season to try to turn a team around. And we also know that he was recently fired from Koln because he was having probably one of the worst seasons in the history of the Bundesliga. So BVB quickly hired him, of course, because BVB likes to lose. I'm kidding, of course! I might be kidding.

We also know that he's Austrian. That he's 51 years old. That he's 176cm tall (shorter than cha boi [me] but taller than cha boi [Christian Pulisic]. And that he was a midfielder.

I have a confession to make: When I first saw Peter Stoger I thought, Damn, that guy is kind of ugly. But then I heard him speak and he seems like a pretty good guy. A confident guy. And granted I know being a good guy doesn't make a good coach -- look at Bosz, for example -- but at least it's something. The real question is, is he a good leader? Because, as I've said in previous posts, BVB need a leader right now. They need one desperately. Subotic and Schmelzer and possibly Sahin seem to have been doing the majority of the leading lately, but what BVB needs more than anything in the world is a clear leader who will light a fire under the rear end of every single Dortmund player. Could Stoger be that guy? I hope. Because Bosz definitely wasn't that guy. When things were going shitty for Dortmund they showed Bosz on the sideline and he looked like a weird Dutch version of the grinch, making the characteristic grinch frowny face. But he never got mad! He never got fired up! And if you're going to be a great trainer sometimes you need to get fired up. Sometimes you need to get carded. Watch Pep Guardiola, for instance. He's leading Man City to one of the finest seasons in history and he spends half the game having a conniption fit.

One of the biggest questions on the mind of all BVB fans right now is, "How will Dortmund line up under Stogel?" The website thinks they might have an answer. And when I look at this I think, OK, this is fine, but....where the hell is Kagawa? Because Kagawa has been an absolute wizard lately. Kagawa has created attacks. Kagawa has created chances. So do what you have to do, but get Kagawa on the field.

The starting lineup tomorrow is, of course, particularly important, because it will essentially show which players Peter Stoger things are good, which players he trusts. For me, the most interesting non-start/start will be with Andriy Yarmolenko. Yarmolenko has shown two things so far this season: He can score goals, and he's slow/can't defend. So do you play the guy who scores the occasional back heel goal but that's about it, or do you play someone else? Like Kagawa. 

And finally, of course, we have to talk about cha boi aka The Pennsylvania Payoff aka Wonderboy aka Captain America aka CP aka The Croatian Sensation aka The Worthy Winger aka Herr Pulisic aka My God Who Did He Just Nutgmeg, Christian Pulisic. I am confident Pulisic will start tomorrow. I am not confident, however, that he'll score or have an assist, because it's been a long time since he's scored or had an assist. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, BVB HASN'T WON SINCE THE US FAILED TO QUALIFY FOR THE WORLD CUP. Everyone has been saying, for the best seven games, "This is the game where BVB will turn it around." And they never do. But well, we might as well say it one more time. Tomorrow, against Mainz, BVB will at least SORT OF turn it around. And by sort of turn it around I mean they'll win. They may not play perfectly the whole 90, but they'll win. And I'll be there, in the rain or the snow or the cold, rooting them on. 


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I will also be tweeting the game for Fear the Wall tomorrow if any of you would like to follow along.

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