Following a shocking defeat to Werder Bremen in the cup, Borussia Dortmund will look to bounce back to winning form as they host TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund’s dream of doing well in the DFB Pokal this season were shattered as they were knocked out by Werder Bremen in the third round this midweek. And the Bundesliga league leaders will look to get back to winning ways as they host TSG Hoffenheim at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

Tuesday’s defeat to Bremen was the first time Dortmund had lost since the turn of the year. However, the Black and Yellows have failed to win in their last two matches in all competitions, with their last league game ending in a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.

That being said, Dortmund still have a comfortable seven-point lead at the top and will have a glorious opportunity to extend that gap, especially with Bayern Munich facing a stern test against FC Schalke on Saturday.

Hoffenheim, on the other hand, have struggled under Julian Nagelsmann this campaign, dawdling in a mid-table position, with just 29 points on the board. As a matter of fact, Die Kraichgauer have registered only one win in their last nine games in all competitions.

And here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over both the sides ahead of this fascinating Bundesliga encounter this weekend.

Team news & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

No changes are likely to be made in defence, as Lukasz Piszczek is not yet back in training, while fellow full-back Marcel Schmelzer is still weakened after being taken ill. That would mean, Achraf Hakimi and Abdou Diallo will continue at right-back and left-back respectively, with Julian Weigl and Omer Toprak at the heart of the defence.

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - JANUARY 19: Abdou Diallo talks to Achraf Hakimi of Dortmund during the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund at Red Bull Arena on January 19, 2019 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Karina Hessland-Wissel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Diallo will once again slot in at left-back (Photo by Karina Hessland-Wissel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Thomas Delaney will be facing a one-game suspension this weekend. As a result, Mahmoud Dahoud may be introduced in midfield. The former Gladbach star will be partnered by Axel Witsel at the base of Favre’s 4-2-3-1.

Jadon Sancho is a doubt for the game meaning Christian Pulisic could start on the right-wing again while with Raphael Guerreiro could also be rested, with Favre having one way on the Champions League clash against Tottenham Hotspur next week. That would mean Jacob Bruun Larsen gets the nod on the left-side.

Marco Reus has been ruled out of the game due to a muscle injury. His place in the side could be taken up by Maximilian Philipp. And the Dortmund attack will be led by Mario Gotze, who could once again get the nod ahead of Paco Alcacer.

Probable lineup(4-2-3-1): Burki; Hakimi, Weigl, Toprak, Diallo; Witsel, Dahoud; Pulisic, Philipp, Bruun Larsen; Gotze.

TSG Hoffenheim

Lukas Rupp, Kasim Adams and Kevin Vogt are all ruled out in the trip to Dortmund this weekend. But, defenders Benjamin Hubner and Ermin Bicakcic should return to the starting lineup.

Both the defenders will be partnered by the young Stefan Posch in Hoffenheim’s three-man backline, with Pavel Kaderabek and Nico Schulz occupying the wing-back slots.

SINSHEIM, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 24: Benjamin Huebner of Hoffenheim runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Sport-Club Freiburg at Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena on February 24, 2018 in Sinsheim, Germany. The match between Hoffenheim and Freiburg ended 1-1. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Benjamin Hubner will lead the Hoffenheim defence this weekend. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Nagelsmann is unlikely to make too many changes in midfield, however, although Nadiem Amiri could make way for Leonardo Bittencourt. The former Cologne starlet will partner Kerem Demirbay in a slightly advanced role in midfield while Florian Grillitsch will retain this place at the base of Hoffenheim’s 3-1-4-2.

In attack, we expect both Andrej Kramaric and Joelinton to retain their place in the starting lineup. Kramaric scored the opener in the draw with Fortuna Dusseldorf last weekend and his creativity and dynamic runs in the final third will be crucial as the visitors look to catch Dortmund on the counter.

Reiss Nelson is also an option, however, along with Adam Szalai and Ishak Belfodil, who is likely to make a substitute appearance in the second half.

Probable lineup(3-1-4-2): Baumann; Bicakcic, Posch, Hubner; Grillitsch; Kaderabek, Demirbay, Bittencourt, Schulz; Kramaric, Joelinton.

Key stats

  • Borussia Dortmund have scored at least 2 goals in their last home matches against Hoffenheim in all competitions.
  • Hoffenheim are unbeaten in their last seven away Bundesliga games (W4, D3), but have lost their last five Bundesliga matches in Dortmund.
  • Jadon Sancho is the Bundesliga’s joint-leading assist provider this season on nine, two ahead of teammate Marco Reus.
  • Hoffenheim top scorer Andrej Kramaric, who is set to make his 100th Bundesliga appearance, has posted a career-best nine goals after 20 games.
  • Dortmund have taken 28 from a possible 30 points at home this season, scoring at least twice in each of their 10 games at the Signal Iduna Park.

Player to watch

Mario Gotze

DORTMUND, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 05: Niklas Moisander of Werder Bremen tackles Mario Gotze of Borussia Dortmund during the DFB Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen at Signal Iduna Park on February 5, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Mario Gotze’s form has been on the up in recent weeks. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Mario Gotze’s form has been on the up in recent weeks and the German international could once again play a key role leading the Dortmund attack this weekend.

Gotze’s clever movements combined with his immaculate control often help him hold up the ball at the top end of the pitch. In addition, the former world champion also has an excellent understanding with the rest of his attacking partners. Thus, stopping him could be imperative if the visitors are to take anything away from this game.


Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim have always fared well against Dortmund but considering their lack of resources in defence, Die Kraichgauer may struggle to keep the BVB attack at bay. Thus, we expect a comfortable 2-0 win for the hosts in this one.

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