Matchday 19 of the 2015-16 Bundesliga sees title hopefuls Borussia Dortmund host impressive debutantes Ingolstadt at the Signal Iduna Park.
The newly promoted side have the second-best defence in the league while the hosts are the league’s best scorers. The contrasting strengths of the two sides sets the tone for a great game on Saturday.
Dortmund’s 3-1 away win over Borussia Mönchengladbach last week was a highly impressive victory that saw Ilkay Gündogan, Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all on the scoresheet. Although top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an off day, the often criticised Mats Hummels and Marco Reus put in splendid performances.
Ingolstadt continued their quiet march in the Bundesliga after a 1-0 home win against Mainz with Moritz Hartmann netting the only goal of the game. Now in 10th place, Ingolstadt must feel pretty confident about their chances of continuing in the Bundesliga next season.
Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Tuchel has filled in the void left by Jürgen Klopp surprisingly well. The former Mainz man has fixed the problems from last season and has made the team better equipped to deal with different oppositions. Tuchel’s build-up play and different approach to shot taking has improved upon his predecessor. A revitalised Marcel Schmelzer and Ilkay Gündogan look to be back to their best, and the introduction of young Julian Weigl to the team has worked wonders. Further, Tuchel’s constant positional rotation of his attacking midfield — Reus, Kagawa and Mkhitaryan — has made Dortmund a different team.
Ralph Hasenhüttl, who has been in charge of Ingolstadt since late 2013, has taken his team from the bottom of the Bundesliga to the 10th position on the table in the span of 2 years. For a club that is just 12 years old, he has become an iconic figure. Favouring a 4-3-3 with relatively limited midfield movement and non overlapping full-backs, Hasenhüttl prefers a defensive setup and likes his team to use width in attacks. He has his fair share of tactical quirks too, including playing centre-back Romain Bregerie in attacking midfield or winger Mathew Leckie as a lone striker.
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Strength and Weaknesses:
Dortmund’s strength very obviously lies in the attacking trio of Mkhitaryan, Reus and Aubameyang who already have 34 league goals between them this season. The support squad of Julian Weigl and Ilkay Gündogan have performed brilliantly as well, and the team as a whole looks more cohesive. However, individual errors in defence and vulnerability to direct attacks have stopped BVB from waltzing away to victory every time and has caused them to often seem incapable of stopping opponents from creating chances.
Ingolstadt’s Benjamin Hübner and captain Marvin Matip are among the highest rated defenders of the Bundesliga this season, and for good reason. The centre-back pairing have showcased great positional play, aerial prowess and could easily be playing for a side in the top four. Although FCI are doing brilliantly in preventing the opposition from scoring, they too have trouble finding the net. With only 12 goals scored all season and Moritz Hartmann the only player with more than 1 goal to his name, Die Schanzer just can’t cash in on their chances. Strikers Lukas Hinterseer and Elias Kachunga were great in 2014-15, but look lost this season. Creative midfielder Pascal Gross’s absence (suspension) could be crucial and the team will have to rely solely on pacy winger Mathew Leckie in the attacking third.
Mathew Leckie vs. Marcel Schmelzer/Joo-Ho Park
Just returning from injury, the much improved Marcel Schmelzer could be in for a tough task against Australian international Mathew Leckie. Schmelzer, although very good offensively and in maintaining possession, leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to defending. Leckie’s pace and strength will be vital in Ingolstadt’s game plan and an entertaining duel with the German lies in store. Should Schmelzer not be fit enough to start, Korean international Joo-Ho Park will be given the responsibility of dealing with the Australian.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Marvin Matip
African Player of the Year and league top scorer Aubameyang had a disappointing start to 2016 after a poor performance against Mönchengladbach last week, but remains one of BVB’s key men. His goal threat and skill on the counter attack makes him a nightmare to deal with. However if there’s any man up to the task, it is FCI captain Marvin Matip. The veteran defender has been a great leader for his team and is one of the main reasons behind his team’s success in the Bundesliga. It will be interesting to see whether the Cameroonian can contain the Dortmund star, or if he will be beaten by the Gabonese’s pace and trickery.
Dortmund are a completely different side from last season and Tuchel’s success at the club cannot be overstated. Ingolstadt, one of the surprises of the season, have been phenomenal at the back which could result in a close game theoretically. However they are clearly the weaker of the two sides and with star man Pascal Gross missing out as well, the chances of an upset are slim.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Ingolstadt
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