Borussia Dortmund will kickstart their 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign as they host FC Augsburg at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund are coming into this new season with a lot of ambition. After missing out on the league title by just two points last season, the Black and Yellows are expected to win the Bundesliga, especially with Bayern Munich undergoing a transitional phase. So quite naturally, fans will have high expectations when they kickstart their league campaign at home against Augsburg tomorrow afternoon.
Dortmund have done quite well leading up to this game, notably securing a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the DFL Supercup. They have also won 2-0 against KFC Uerdingen in the first round of the DFB Pokal last week
As a result, Die Schwarzgelben will be coming into this game full of confidence against an Augsburg side that struggled with relegation for the most part of the 2019/20 campaign. The club from Bavaria finished 15th minute in the league table last season – just four points behind relegated VfB Stuttgart.
This will be Martin Schmidt’s first full season in charge of Augsburg after he replaced Manuel Baum in April. But, it is perhaps unfair for the Swiss coach to be starting his campaign against the mighty Dortmund side.
However, the ex-Mainz boss will also have a point to prove, after his side was knocked out of the DFB Pokal by SC Verl from fourth division. Die Fuggerstadt will look to at least salvage a point in this fixture, though easier said than done.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over the two sides ahead of this fascinating Bundesliga encounter this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Borussia Dortmund have a fairly fit squad, with Raphael Guerreiro being the only first-team starter injured. That means coach Lucien Favre will have the privilege of choosing from an array of options, especially in attack.
New signing Thorgan Hazard made his Dortmund debut against Uerdingen last week. And the Belgian international could retain his place in the starting lineup as a deputy for the injured Guerreiro. But at the same time, fans will be excited to witness Julian Brandt making his debut for the Ruhrpott giants.
Hazard will be accompanied by Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho in the creative three, with Paco Alcacer leading the attack. The Spaniard has stated that he would like to start more matches and thus, we expect Favre to deploy him ahead of Mario Gotze in the number nine role.
In midfield, Julian Weigl will get the nod ahead of Thomas Delaney alongside Axel Witsel in the double-pivot. The 23-year-old is among the players worth looking forward to this season, and it will be interesting to see if he can repay Favre’s faith this weekend.
And finally, in defence, Mats Hummels has returned to full fitness and will pair up with Manuel Akanji at the heart of Dortmund’s four-man backline. Lukasz Piszczek, meanwhile, will likely start over Achraf Hakimi at right-back while new signing Nico Schulz will be deployed on the opposite flank.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Roman Burki; Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels, Manuel Akanji, Nico Schulz; Julian Weigl, Axel Witsel; Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, Thorgan Hazard; Paco Alcacer.
Schmidt has adopted a 4-4-2 setup since arriving at Augsburg. He is likely to opt for a similar formation against Dortmund as it will make his team extra compact, especially when without possession.
Michael Gregoritsch is a guaranteed starter in attack. And the former HSV star will be partnered by new signing Florian Niederlechner, who will be deputising for the injured Alfred Finnbogason. It will be interesting to see if the ex-Freiburg star can make an impact in Bavaria this season.
Augsburg have a bunch of first-team players out injured, including key defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw. So we can pretty much expect new signing Marek Suchy to start in central defence alongside Reece Oxford. Elsewhere, star player Philipp Max is waiting for a transfer away from Bavaria, paving the way for Mads Pedersen to start at left-back, with Georg Teigl occupying the opposite flank.
In midfield, Rani Khedira is expected to form the double pivot alongside the ever-present figure of Daniel Baier, whose work ethic and leadership will go a long way in shaping the fate of Augsburg this season. Andre Hahn meanwhile is tipped to be deployed at right-wing while Marco Richter starts on the left.
And finally, in goal, new signing Tomas Koubek will get the nod ahead of Andreas Luthe and Fabian Giefer. The former Rennes ‘keeper will be expecting a busy afternoon against the Dortmund attack.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Tomas Koubek; Georg Teigl, Marek Suchy, Reece Oxford, Mads Pedersen; Andre Hahn, Daniel Baier, Rani Khedira, Marco Richter; Michael Gregoritsch, Florian Niederlechner.
- Augsburg have scored in each of their last 11 Bundesliga matches against Dortmund – a record they have yet to match against any other Bundesliga side.
- Dortmund and Augsburg have faced each other once before on the opening matchday, with BVB winning 4-0 away in the 2013/14 season.
- Augsburg recorded more shots on goal than Dortmund while scoring 30 goals fewer during the 2018/19 campaign. This was due to Dortmund’s shot conversation rate (24.5%), which was the best in the top-five European leagues.
- Dortmund finished runners-up in the league for the fourth time in the last seven years despite having a nine-point lead in the 15th matchday.
- Augsburg beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at home on matchday 24 last season – their second win in 16 Bundesliga matches against the Black and Yellows.
With Augsburg defence already depleted with numerous injuries, this could be an excellent opportunity for Jadon Sancho to kickstart his 2019/20 campaign on a strong rote. The English international will look to take advantage of Pedersen’s lack of experience at the highest level of football and torment the left flank with his explosive pace and trickery.
It is Sancho’s creative essence that could bring a real spark into the Dortmund attack as they look to start their league campaign on a positive note. It will also be interesting to see how he combines with Reus, Alcacer and especially Hazard in the final third.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund were incredibly strong at home last season, and we expect them to follow a similar run this time around. As iterated earlier, the Black and Yellows are coming on the back of two consecutive wins and are hot favourites to seal a comfortable victory against this decimated Augsburg side.