Borussia Dortmund will hope to turn the tides in the league table as they travel to Weserstadion to face Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre will demand a response from his team, after their dreadful Revierderby defeat to Schalke last weekend. The Black and Yellows dropped three points in a shocking result that extended Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the table.
Dortmund now trail the Bavarians by two points and with just three games left to play, the Ruhrpott giants cannot afford another slip-up when they face Werder Bremen at the Weserstadion on Saturday.
Bremen were one of the best teams in the Ruckrunde a few weeks ago until the Northern giants lost back to back matches against Bayern Munich. They are currently on a three-game losing streak, with their latest defeat coming against Fortuna Dusseldorf last weekend.
As for Dortmund, they have now lost two of their last four matches and tensions will be high as they look to keep their title hopes alive. The visitors did emerge as the victors in the reverse fixture back in December, although it was Bremen who triumphed when these two teams last met in a 3rd round match in the DFB Pokal earlier this year.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over the two sides ahead of their crucial match-up this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Florian Kohfeldt is likely to revert to his preferred 4-3-3 formation but with Philipe Bargfrede ruled out, we could expect Nuri Sahin to feature against his former club.
The Turkish international will be deployed in the holding midfield role, where he will be partnered by Maximilian Eggestein and Davy Klaassen. Eggestein has been linked with a move to Dortmund in the summer and will be keen to make an impression this weekend.
Klaassen, meanwhile, will operate in a slightly advanced midfield role, where his combination play with the likes of Milot Rashica and Max Kruse will be key to Bremen’s attack.
Although Rashica is a doubt heading into this fixture, we expect the Kosovian international to return to full fitness. He will occupy the right wing slot with Yuya Osako starting on the opposite flank. The Bremen attack will be led by Kruse.
In defence, the absence of Niklas Moisander will be a huge blow for the hosts. The club captain is serving a one-game suspension and will be replaced by Milos Veljkovic at the heart of the four-man backline alongside Sebastian Langkamp.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pavlenka; Gebre-Selassie, Langkamp, Veljkovic, Augustinsson; Eggestein, Sahin, Klaassen; Rashica, Kruse, Osako
The return of Lukasz Piszczek will serve as a huge boost for the visitors. The Polish international has missed a chunk of the season due to injury but will come in for Marius Wolf in the right-back slot.
Julian Weigl is expected to retain his place in central defence, despite an awful display against Schalke. He will form central defensive partnership alongside Manuel Akanji while Abdou Diallo will continue to feature as the left-back in the absence of Achraf Hakimi.
The midfield will remain unchanged with Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney forming the double-pivot in Dortmund’s 4-2-3-1. It will be interesting to see how Delaney, a former Bremen star, fares against Sahin, who will play against his former club for the second time this season.
Jadon Sancho is a guaranteed starter in the right wing slot. The English international will be burdened with a lot of expectation, especially in the absence of Marco Reus, who was sent off against Schalke last weekend. Reus will be replaced by Mario Gotze in the attacking midfield role, which, in turn, will pave the way for Paco Alcacer to return to the lineup.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Weigl, Akanji, Diallo; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Gotze, Guerreiro; Alcacer
- Dortmund have had an awful record away from home, of late, having won only two of their last six Bundesliga matches on the road.
- Bremen, however, have won only one of their last eight meetings with Dortmund. Their only win came way back in December 2014.
- Werder Bremen are unbeaten in eight Bundesliga home matches – a run only bettered by league leaders Bayern Munich.
- The hosts have won more home matches against Dortmund than any other team (31).
- Werder Bremen have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 home matches.
Player to Watch
Wolf is facing a suspension while Hakimi has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign, which has made Piszczek’s timely return to full fitness even more significant.
And the veteran defender will certainly play a key role as Dortmund look to avoid any defensive mishaps. His experience will also help the likes of Weigl and Akanji in defensive phases while it will be interesting to see how he fares against the tricky Osako.
Additionally, Sancho will also expect some attacking support from Piszczek on the far side, thus making the Polish international one of the players worth looking forward to in this exciting encounter.
Werder Bremen 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
Bremen could trouble the Dortmund defence with their excellent attacking unit. The neat and tidy combination play between the likes of Rashica, Kruse and Klaassen is sure to cause some problems at the back and we expect the hosts to churn out a draw in this one.
Dortmund, too, have some serious firepower at their disposal. Thus, it won’t be surprising to see if this game ends in a high-scoring draw.