Borussia Dortmund will look to get to back to winning ways as they host Werder Bremen in the third round of the DFB Pokal on Tuesday.

Borussia Dortmund’s excellent winning run came to an end on Saturday, when the Bundesliga league leaders were held to a 1-1 draw by Eintracht Frankfurt. And coach Lucien Favre will demand a better performance this week when his side hosts Werder Bremen in the third round of the DFB Pokal.

However, despite their incredible record in the league this campaign, the Black and Yellows have been made to work hard in both of their cup fixtures thus far.

In fact, Dortmund needed extra time to beat both Greuther Furth and Union Berlin in the last two rounds and with the Ruhrpott giants due to face a top-flight opponent this week, they definitely need to buckle up if they are to proceed to the next round.

As for Bremen, they are coming on the back of two back to back draws in the league and are dawdling in a mid-table position. But unlike Dortmund, they have fared exceptionally well in both of their cup games thus far, notably plundering six goals against Wormatia Worms in the first round before ousting Regionalliga Nord outfit SC Welche 5-1 in the last round.

And here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over both of these sides ahead of their third-round cup tie this midweek.

Team news & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Favre could ring in the changes this week, with the Swiss mastermind having one eye on the important league encounter against TSG Hoffenheim on the weekend.

However, Dortmund will continue to miss out on the services of Manuel Akanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou while new signing Leonardo Balerdi is out on international duty. Thus, Favre will have no option but to retain his central defensive combination of Julian Weigl and Abdou Diallo.

Achraf Hakimi could make way for Marcel Schmelzer in the left-back slot while Lukasz Piszczek is a guaranteed starter in his customary right-back position.

Mahmoud Dahoud could return to the starting lineup, replacing Thomas Delaney at the base of Dortmund’s 4-2-3-1. He will be partnered by Dortmund’s midfield linchpin Axel Witsel.

Favre is guaranteed to shuffle his pack in the attacking department, with the offensive duo of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro likely to make way for Christian Pulisic and Jacob Bruun Larsen. Marco Reus, however, is expected to retain his role as the lone attacking midfielder.

And finally, the BVB attack will be led by Mario Gotze, who is likely to be preferred ahead of Paco Alcacer. The Spaniard failed to make an impact against Eintracht and could be introduced as a sub in this one.

Probable lineup(4-2-3-1): Hitz; Piszczek, Weigl, Diallo, Schmelzer; Dahoud, Witsel; Pulisic, Reus, Larsen; Gotze;

Werder Bremen

Werder Bremen are still without the services of Fin Bartels but on a positive note, Yuya Osako has returned from international duty and is in contention to start this week.

After a disappointing draw with 1. FC Nuernberg, Florian Kohfeldt could employ a three-man backline on Tuesday, which could see Nuri Sahin omitted from the starting eleven, making way for Sebastian Langkamp. The former Berlin defender will be partnered by Milos Veljkovic and Niklas Moisander in Bremen’s defence.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - DECEMBER 15: Nuri Sahin of Bremen with Marco Reus and Lukasz Piszczek after the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and SV Werder Bremen at the Signal Iduna Park on December 15, 2018 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)

Sahin could miss out on the starting eleven in his return to Westfalenstadion. (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)

Ludwig Augustinsson will be deployed as the left wing-back while Theodore Gebre-Selassie is also expected to retain his place on the opposite flank.

In midfield, Maximilian Eggestein is a guaranteed starter at the base of Bremen’s 3-3-2-2. The youngster will be a vital cog in Bremen’s midfield, thanks to his impressive work-ethic, which, coupled with his aggression and long-range shooting prowess make him one of the most sought-after midfielders in the Bundesliga.

Further forward, Kevin Mohwald will team up with Davy Klaassen, both of whom will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the creative essence in the final third. And the Bremen attack will be led by Max Kruse and Josh Sargent, who is pushing for a start, having played well in the limited opportunities he has received so far.

Probable lineup (3-3-2-2): Pavlenka; Veljkovic, Langkamp, Moisander; Gebre-Selassie, Eggestein, Augustinsson; Mohwald, Klaassen; Kruse, Sargent.

Key stats

  • Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen have met on 103 occasions with Der BVB edging the all-time head to head record with 44 wins to Die Werderaner’s 42.
  • Dortmund are unbeaten in their last eight competitive home matches, winning seven.
  • Marco Reus scored his 16th competitive goal of the season at the weekend. The BVB skipper has scored in the first and second rounds of this term’s DFB Pokal.
  • It has been ten years since Bremen won the last of their six DFB Cups.
  • Bremen have drawn three of their last five Bundesliga fixtures, whereas Dortmund have picked up three victories and drawn one in their previous five games.

Player to Watch

Josh Sargent

NUREMBERG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 02: Josh Sargent of Werder Bremen reacts following a draw in the Bundesliga match between 1. FC Nuernberg and SV Werder Bremen at Max-Morlock-Stadion on February 2, 2019 in Nuremberg, Germany. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)

One to watch out for. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Josh Sargent may finally get the opportunity to face his compatriot and USMNT star Christian Pulisic as both the players are poised to make a rare start this week.

While Pulisic is sure to attract most of the spotlight, it is Sargent who may raise one or two eyebrows in this fixture. The 18-year-old has shown incredible promise in the youth leagues and has already netted two Bundesliga goals despite seeing just 120 minutes of league action this season.

And in what could be his first professional start, Sargent is definitely the man worth looking forward to as Bremen look to catch Dortmund on the break, where the pace and tenacity of this highly talented US international could turn out to be quite useful.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Werder Bremen

Bremen are certainly not known for their defensive solidity and coming up against a mighty Dortmund attack might just be too much pressure for Die Grunweissen backline, who have conceded 32 goals in 20 matches in the Bundesliga this season. Thus, we expect a comfortable 3-1 win for the hosts.