Borussia Dortmund will seek to end their dismal run of form as they travel to Frankenstadion to face 1. FC Nürnberg on Monday.
Following a promising start to the year, Bundesliga league leaders Borussia Dortmund have slightly fallen off the radar, notably failing to win in any of their last three matches in all competitions.
And with head coach Lucien Favre already fuming on his side’s defensive mistakes, an improved display could be imperative as they face Nürnberg on a rare Monday night game.
Dortmund are currently leading the table but with Bayern Munich securing a narrow win over FC Augsburg on Friday, the Black and Yellows are running the risk of seeing the gap close down to just two points at the top.
Therefore, they can’t afford another slip-up this week against a Nürnberg side who are languishing at the very bottom of the league table. Der Klub have managed to secure only 12 points from 21 games this season and are almost destined to go down at the end of the campaign.
Borussia Dortmund’s biggest victory of the season came against Nürnberg as the Ruhrpott giants secured a massive 7-0 win when the two sides met back in September. And the hosts will look to avoid any further humiliation as they face Dortmund on Monday.
And here at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at both of these sides ahead of their crucial Bundesliga match-up.
Team News & Tactics
1. FC Nürnberg
This will be Boris Schommers’ first game in charge after the 40-year-old took over former head coach Michael Kollner this week. He is apparently the caretaker manager before Nürnberg , who have also sacked sporting director Andreas Bornemann, find a replacement.
Schommers could make a few changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Hannover last weekend, one of which will be the return of Ondrej Petrak. The Czech midfielder is available after serving a suspension and will continue his role at the base of Nürnberg ‘s three-man midfield.
Petrak will be supported by the duo of Eduard Lowen and club captain Hanno Behrens, who is the club’s joint top scorer with three goals.
Minimal changes are expected in defence, however, with Schommers likely to opt for the four-man backline comprising of Enrico Valentini, Lukas Muhl, Ewerton and Tim Leibold.
The Nürnberg attack will be led by Adam Zrelak, who will continue to start over Mikael Ishak as the number nine whilst being supported by the wide duo of Virgil Misidjan and Matheus Pereira.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mathenia; Valentini, Muhl, Ewerton, Leibold; Behrens, Petrak, Lowen; Misidjan, Zrelak, Pereira.
Favre will continue to miss out on the services of key players in Manuel Akanji, Lukasz Piszczek and Marco Reus. Julian Weigl and Paco Alcacer trained with the team and their involvement in this game is unlikely, though the latter could feature from the bench late in the second half.
Therefore, the Swiss mastermind will have no choice but to stick with the defensive combination of Omer Toprak and Abdou Diallo with Dan-Axel Zagadou likely getting a rest. Achraf Hakimi will retain his preferred right-back slot while Piszczek’s absence will force Favre to give Marcel Schmelzer a rare start on the opposite flank.
Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel will retain their place at the base of Dortmund’s 4-2-3-1 but Mahmoud Dahoud could be sacrificed in place of Maximilian Philipp.
The Portuguese international will return to the side and operate as the lone attacking midfielder, in the absence of star man Reus. Raphael Guerreiro and Jadon Sancho will be deployed as wingers, with Christian Pulisic once again expected to start on the bench.
And finally, the Dortmund attack will be led by Mario Gotze, though Favre could deploy Philipp as the number nine, in case of which, Marius Wolf could come into the starting lineup.
Predicted lineup(4-2-3-1): Burki; Hakimi, Toprak, Diallo, Schmelzer; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Philipp, Guerreiro; Gotze.
- Borussia Dortmund are undefeated in 12 of their last 13 matches against Nürnberg in all competitions.
- Nürnberg are without a win in their last 15 league matches and have lost seven of their last eight Bundesliga games.
- Nürnberg ‘s 7-0 loss at Dortmund in the reverse fixture equalled their club-record defeat in the Bundesliga.
- Dortmund are the highest scoring side in the league this season while Nürnberg are the lowest scoring side, having netted just 17 goals.
- Borussia Dortmund have scored at least 2 goals in 10 of their last 12 matches against Nürnberg in all competitions.
Player to watch
With Reus out injured and Pulisic unlikely to start, Maximilian Philipp will be presented with a golden opportunity to make an impression, which could be important for the player especially after failing to make himself a regular fixture in the starting lineup under Favre this season.
Indeed, Philipp has mustered just over 650 minutes of league action so far, during which he has been involved in only two goals – less than any other Dortmund attacker this season.
Therefore, the former Freiburg starlet will be keen to extend his record in front of goal against a weak Nürnberg defence on Monday.
His dynamic movements coupled with an excellent long-range shooting prowess could give the visitors the upper hand, especially with Reus injured, thus making him one of the players worth looking forward to in this game.
1. FC Nürnberg 0-4 Borussia Dortmund
It has been a dreadful season for Nürnberg so far, who could suffer yet another massive defeat at the hands of the league leaders on Monday. They have already conceded nine goals in their last five matches in all competitions and going up against their weak defence will hand Dortmund the ideal opportunity to bounce back to winning form.