Borussia Dortmund will continue their challenge for the league title as they host VfL Wolfsburg at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
After a week of exciting international matches, the Bundesliga will return this weekend as Borussia Dortmund host VfL Wolfsburg at the Signal Iduna Park.
The Black and Yellows will be keen to assert more pressure on league leaders Bayern Munich as they seek to win their first title in seven years. They are currently trailing the Bavarians due to an inferior goal-difference but should the league leaders falter against Freiburg this weekend, Dortmund will have the opportunity to regain the top spot by the end of this matchweek.
Following an erratic start to the Ruckrunde, the hosts have somewhat managed to get their season back on track, notably winning three of their last four Bundesliga matches. Their most recent win came against Hertha Berlin when a late goal from Marco Reus helped his side all three points against Pal Dardai’s men a fortnight ago.
As for Wolfsburg, they bounced back from their 6-0 defeat to Bayern by securing an impressive 5-2 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf in their last game. The Wolves have fared quite well in this calendar year and a win this weekend could potentially help them pip sixth-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at both the sides ahead of their exciting Bundesliga match-up this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Dan-Axel Zagadou may have to settle for a place on the bench in this game, meaning Abdou Diallo could once again partner Manuel Akanji at the heart of the four-man backline.
Meanwhile, Lukasz Piszczek is nearing his return to full fitness but Saturday’s clash against Wolfsburg might come a little too soon for the Polish international. That means Marius Wolf could once again deputize him in the right-back slot while Achraf Hakimi will start on the opposite flank.
Axel Witsel is a guaranteed starter in midfielder after missing out the last game due to an injury. He is fit and will be deployed at the base of Dortmund’s 4-1-4-1.
It is unlikely that coach Lucien Favre will want to omit Mario Gotze from the starting lineup but with Paco Alcacer coming on the back of a fiery form in the last couple of matches, the German could operate as the attacking midfielder alongside Marco Reus.
Both Reus and Gotze will be partnered by Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro in wider attacking positions while the Dortmund attack will be spearheaded by Alcacer, who will look to continue his excellent scoring run.
Jacob Bruun-Larsen will provide Favre with an additional option in the final third, though he will miss out on the services of Maximilian Philipp and Christian Pulisic, who sustained an injury while on international duty.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Burki; Wolf, Akanji, Diallo, Hakimi; Witsel; Sancho, Gotze, Reus, Guerreiro; Alcacer
It’s hard to imagine Bruno Labbadia tweaking his squad especially after a comprehensive win over Dusseldorf in their last game.
Therefore, we should expect Robin Knoche and John Anthony Brooks to retain their place in central defence while William and Jerome Roussillon will occupy the fullback slots. Both of these players will play a key role against the duo of Hakimi and Wolf on the far side.
In midfield, Joshua Guilavogui will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the defensive cover for the backline. The former Atletico Madrid star will be deployed at the base of Wolfsburg’s 4-3-3 with Yannick Gerhardt and Maximilian Arnold operating in slightly advanced roles.
Arnold, in particular, will get forward and provide the creative spark in midfield while the wide duo of Renato Steffen and Admir Mehmedi will look to take full advantage of Dortmund’s galloping fullbacks, who often tend to leave spaces in behind.
And finally, the Wolves attack will be led by none other than Wout Weghorst, who has already notched up 12 goals since joining from AZ Alkmaar last summer.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Casteels; William, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon; Guilavogui; Gerhardt, Arnold; Steffen, Weghorst, Mehmedi.
- Borussia Dortmund have scored at least 2 goals in their last 13 home matches.
- Dortmund hold an impressive record against their weekend opponents, winning six of their last seven matches in all competitions.
- The Black and Yellows will be hoping to make five clean sheets in a row against Wolfsburg this weekend, having conceded no goals in the previous four fixtures against the same opponents.
- Wolfsburg will be up against a Dortmund side, who have a stellar record at home this season, winning 11 of their 13 games at the Signal Iduna Park so far.
- Wolfsburg last scored against Dortmund back in 2016, when Daniel Didavi scored the consolation goal in a 5-1 defeat.
Player to Watch
Although not the flashiest of players on the pitch, Wolfsburg attacker Admir Mehmedi often tends to impress in big matches and this weekend could be no exception either.
The Swiss international is a clever operator in the final third, who likes to cut-inside and join forces with the lone striker upfront. This helps Wolfsburg become more effective in their first line of press as they eventually put more pressure on the opposition ball carrier.
And the Dortmund defenders will certainly need to be wary of his clever movements as they look to avoid yet another defensive mishap this weekend, thus making Mehmedi one of the players worth looking forward to in this high-octane encounter.
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 VfL Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg may finally end their scoring drought against Dortmund, thanks to a much improved attacking unit under Labbadia. But, the Wolves could still be outclassed by the hosts, who have shown a tremendous amount of promise in their last few matches. Therefore, we at The Hard Tackle expect a narrow 2-1 win for Dortmund in this one.