Borussia Dortmund will look to continue their winning momentum as they travel to WWK Arena to face FC Augsburg on Friday.

Bundesliga league leaders Borussia Dortmund roared into winning form after securing a 3-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen last weekend and they will once again look to collect all three points as they face FC Augsburg on Friday.

The Black and Yellows are leading second-placed Bayern Munich by just three points now, having dropped as many as six points this month. And with the Bavarians looking seemingly unstoppable, Dortmund can’t afford another slip-up against a tricky Augsburg side, who are currently dawdling on the wrong end of the table.

In fact, Die Fuggerstadter are only two points away from the relegation playoff spot and losing against Dortmund this week could potentially drop them as low as 16th in the league table.

Much like Dortmund, Manuel Baum’s men haven’t been in good form either, having conceded as many as 12 goals in their last three Bundesliga outings, five of which came in the defeat against SC Freiburg last weekend.

Thus, Augsburg’s main objective will be to avoid another humiliation this week against a Dortmund side who have the best scoring record in the league this season. But, Baum will be well aware of the visitors’ shaky defence as the league leaders have conceded 11 goals in their last five matches in all competitions.

And here at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at these two sides ahead of their mouthwatering fixture in the Bundesliga this week.

Team News & Tactics

FC Augsburg

Augsburg will miss out on the services of several key players on Friday including star striker Alfred Finnbogason, who is the club’s top scorer with ten goals this season.

AUGSBURG, GERMANY - DECEMBER 23: Alfred Finnbogason of Augsburg looks on during the Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and VfL Wolfsburg at WWK-Arena on December 23, 2018 in Augsburg, Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The absence of Finnbogason has been a huge blow for Augsburg this season. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Sergio Cordova will likely deputize for the injured Icelandic forward, alongside Michael Gregoritsch, who will remain the focal point of the Augsburg attack. Gregoritsch’s aerial prowess coupled with his set-pieces deliveries could cause problems for the Dortmund backline this week.

Right-back Raphael Framberger is also injured while Reece Oxford is suspended after receiving a red card against Freiburg. The absence of Oxford could force Konstantinos Stafylidis to shift into a central defensive role, where he will be partnered by Rani Khedira and Kevin Danso, though Felix Gotze is also an option.

Daniel Baier will be deployed in the holding midfield role, where the veteran midfielder will look to neutralize the threat provided by the returning Marco Reus. Baier will be partnered by Koo Ja-Cheol in a slightly advanced position while Jonathan Schmid and Philipp Max will occupy the wing-back slots.

In attack, former Dortmund starlet Dong-Won Ji will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the creative spark in the attack from the lone attacking midfield position.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Kobel; Danso, Khedira, Stafylidis; Schmid, Koo, Baier, Max; Ji; Cordova, Gregoritsch.

Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund will be boosted by the return of club captain Reus, who made his way to training on Monday and is deemed fit to feature against Augsburg this Friday.

We expect the German international to start in his preferred attacking midfield position while Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro could both retain their place in the starting lineup. Jacob Bruun-Larsen will provide an additional option in attack, while Christian Pulisic continues to be absent with an injury

DORTMUND, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 24: Jadon Malik Sancho of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Signal Iduna Park on February 24, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Jadon Sancho will look to continue his excellent run of form. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Mario Gotze could spearhead the Dortmund attack on Friday, following yet another listless display from Paco Alcacer last weekend.

In midfield, Julian Weigl had a mixed game against Leverkusen and the young midfielder could make way for Thomas Delaney at the base of Dortmund’s 4-2-3-1. Delaney will be partnered by Axel Witsel, who will be tasked with the responsibility of circulating possession as well as creating turnovers in the middle of the park.

Lukasz Piszczek is expected to be Lucien Favre’s only injury-related absentee against Augsburg apart from Pulisic, meaning Achraf Hakimi will once again feature in his customary right-back slot. Abdou Diallo, on the other hand, will get the nod ahead of Marcel Schmelzer on the opposite flank.

Manuel Akanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou will continue to form Dortmund’s defensive partnership in the middle. The duo looked slightly shaky at times against Leverkusen in their last game and it will be important they don’t replicate that performance against an Augsburg side, who are known for their counter-attacking prowess.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Hakimi, Akanji, Zagadou, Diallo; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Guerreiro; Gotze.

Key Stats

  • Augsburg have won only one out of their last 14 matches in the Bundesliga.
  • Die Fuggerstadter also have a dismal record against Dortmund, winning one of their last 16 matches against the Ruhrpott giants.
  • Despite their terrible record this year, Dortmund have remained unbeaten in the Bundesliga in their last seven matches.
  • Borussia Dortmund have scored at least 2 goals in 6 of their last 7 away matches against Augsburg in all competitions.
  • Paco Alcacer has 12 league goals for BVB this season, but the Spanish striker hasn’t netted in seven games, a run stretching back to the 2-1 loss at Fortuna in December. The former Barcelona man came off the bench to score a hat-trick as Dortmund won October’s reverse fixture against Augsburg 4-3.

Player to Watch

Marco Reus

Dortmund's forward Marco Reus celebrate scoring the 1-1 equalizer during the German Cup (DFB Pokal) last 16 football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen in Dortmund, western Germany on February 5, 2019. (Photo by SASCHA SCHUERMANN / AFP) / DFB REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND QUASI-VIDEO. (Photo credit should read SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Dortmuund will be boosted by the return of Marco Reus this week. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty Images)

All eyes will be on Marco Reus upon his return to full fitness this week. The German international missed the last three Bundesliga matches due to a hamstring problem, during which Dortmund have dropped four points.

Thus, Reus’ return will be a huge boost for the title aspirants as the 29-year-old is capable of not only tormenting the opposition defence with his direct runs in the final third but is also an excellent team player, who can motivate his team.

His seemingly telepathic combination with the likes of Gotze, Guerreiro and Sancho has already worked wonders for Dortmund this season and fans will be expecting more of the same when the Black and Yellows face Augsburg on Friday.

Prediction

FC Augsburg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

As mentioned earlier, Augsburg has been one of Bundesliga’s most disappointing teams over the course of past few months and it is highly unlikely they will be able to cause an upset against a Dortmund side, who will be full of confidence after securing a win over Leverkusen last weekend. We predict a 2-0 win for the visitors!

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