Borussia Dortmund will be hoping for a miraculous turnaround when they meet Borussia Monchengladbach at the Borussia Park on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund will end their 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign when they travel to Gladbach to face Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday. The Black and Yellows still have slim hopes of winning the title despite losing their eight-point lead in the Ruckrunde.
They are currently trailing league leaders Bayern Munich by two points. That means they will have to win the Borussia derby while also hope that the Bavarians lose their game against Eintracht Frankfurt at the same time. Their significantly inferior goal-difference means Bayern Munich drawing to Eintracht is not an option.
Dortmund actually did quite well to secure a narrow win over Fortuna Dusseldorf in the last game. But, they will face a much tougher challenge against a Gladbach side, who may have to win if they are to secure Champions League football next season.
The Foals are currently fourth in the league table with 55 points. But, Bayer Leverkusen(55) and Eintracht Frankfurt(54) are breathing down their necks, with the former trailing only by a -2 goal difference. That means even a win against Dortmund won’t be enough to guarantee them a top-four finish, even though it will knock Eintracht out of the equation.
And here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over the two sides ahead of their season-finale clash at the Borussia Park this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Dieter Hecking will miss out on the services of a host of key players including Raffael and Lars Stindl. Florian Neuhaus, meanwhile, is suspended and won’t feature against Dortmund. Patrick Herrmann, on the other hand, is a doubt.
Neuhaus’ absence could force Hecking to start to Denis Zakaria in central midfield alongside Jonas Hofmann and Christoph Kramer, who will operate in a slightly withdrawn role. As for Hofmann, he will be facing his former club, having spent almost five years at Dortmund earlier in his career.
Herrmann’s thigh injury means Ibrahima Traore will feature on the right-wing slot with Thorgan Hazard starting on the opposite flank. Hazard has been linked with a move to Dortmund this summer, and it could be his opportunity to impress coach Lucien Favre this weekend.
Alassane Plea’s scoring drought will once again pave the way for Josip Drmic to spearhead the Gladbach attack. The much-maligned Swiss international scored in the 4-0 rout of 1.FC Nuernberg last weekend and will be full of confidence heading into this clash.
In defence, Hecking should resort to his trusted defensive combination of Nico Elvedi and Matthias Ginter at the heart of Gladbach’s four-man backline. Oscar Wendt is a guaranteed starter at left-back while Louis Beyer will occupy the opposite flank.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sommer; Beyer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt; Zakaria, Kramer, Hofmann; Traore, Drmic, Hazard.
Borussia Dortmund will welcome the return of Marco Reus, who comes back to the suspension. The German international will operate in his preferred attacking midfield role, with Mario Gotze leading the Dortmund attack.
Jacob Bruun-Larsen is likely to be replaced by Jadon Sancho after a horrific display against Dusseldorf. Sancho will operate at left-wing with Christian Pulisic starting on the opposite flank in what will be his last game for the club. Paco Alcacer, Bruun-Larsen and Maximilian Philipp will provide Favre with additional options in attack.
The midfield will remain unchanged with Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney once again forming the double-pivot in Dortmund’s 4-2-3-1. In defence, Marcel Schmelzer could be handed a rare start at left-back, replacing Raphael Guerreiro. It will be interesting to see how this experienced defender fares against a dynamic Gladbach attack.
Lukasz Piszczek, on the other hand, is a guaranteed starter in the right-back slot. Elsewhere, Dortmund’s central defensive partnership will be formed by Julian Weigl and Manuel Akanji.
Roman Burki is still a doubt, which will once again pave the way for Marwin Hitz to retain his place in between the sticks for Dortmund. The ex-Augsburg keeper made a terrible error in the win over Dusseldorf last weekend and will need to be much more resilient this time around.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hitz; Piszczek, Akanji, Weigl, Schmelzer; Witsel, Delaney; Pulisic, Reus, Sancho; Gotze.
- Gladbach have suffered seven back to back defeats against Dortmund in the Bundesliga – they have never experienced a run of defeats like that against any other side before.
- Borussia Dortmund have won each of their last three games away at Gladbach. A fourth consecutive home defeat for the Foals would be their first time in the Bundesliga.
- Gladbach haven’t won in any of their last seven Bundesliga home games – they have only waited longer for a home victory in the top flight on two occasions.
- Each of Gladbach’s last ten goals have come in the second-half. The Foals have scored just three goals before the interval in 2019 – a league-low.
- Borussia M.Gladbach have seen over 2.5 goals in 7 of their last eight matches against Borussia Dortmund in all competition.
Player to Watch
As Marco Reus returns from his suspension, the onus will be on him to lead this side for one last time this season – in what may still turn out to be a title-winning campaign.
Reus has been in great form under Favre this season, having been involved in 32 goals in all competitions. And his return to the attacking midfield role will surely add more dynamism to the Dortmund attack. He will also be facing former side, against who he has an impressive scoring record.
It will be interesting to see how Reus manages to get past the likes of Ginter and Elvedi, both of whom will keep close tabs on the German international. But one thing is for sure – Reus certainly needs to play to his potential if Dortmund are to have any hopes of securing a win against Gladbach this weekend.
Borussia Monchengladbach 1-4 Borussia Dortmund
It’s unlikely that Dortmund will struggle to break down the Gladbach given how much their opponent have struggled to keep a clean sheet at home this year. The return of Reus will also boost Dortmund, and we expect the visitors to seal this tie comfortably with a 2-0 win.