Borussia Dortmund will look to maintain their status at the top of the table as they meet Union Berlin at the Alte Forsterei Stadium on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund will travel to the Alte Forsterei – the newest addition to the Bundesliga stadiums, as they face Union Berlin on Saturday afternoon. The Black and Yellows are currently the league leaders, having won both of their matches so far this season. They also have a two-point lead over defending champions Bayern Munich, though it’s still too early actually to consider anything.
Dortmund’s most recent win came against 1.FC Koln. Much like the Augsburg game, they had to come back from behind to secure a hard-fought 3-1 victory. And on Saturday, they will be up against another newly-promoted Bundesliga outfit in the shape of Union Berlin.
The club from the capital are currently playing their first-ever season in the top-flight, after deservingly gaining promotion by beating VfB Stuttgart in the promotion playoff. However, they haven’t exactly enjoyed a dream start, losing 4-0 to RB Leipzig in the opening fixture.
But, a 1-1 draw with Augsburg meant they had secured their first-ever point in the Bundesliga. And that could give them enough confidence as they lock horns with last season’s runners-up, in what will truly transpire as the battle of David and Goliath.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this fascinating encounter tomorrow afternoon.
Team News & Tactics
Kevin Schlotterbeck is suspended after picking up a red card against Augsburg. Florian Hubner, meanwhile, has been ruled out with lack of fitness, meaning Marvin Freidrich could earn a place in the starting lineup. The ex-Augsburg star will partner Neven Subotic at the heart of Union’s four-man backline.
Club captain Christopher Trimmel is a guaranteed starter at right-back. Christopher Lenz will be deployed on the opposite flank but could have a hard time dealing with Jadon Sancho. Both of these players are expected to remain deep in their own half.
Grischa Promel is a doubt, having picked up a leg injury. Manuel Schmiedebach will likely deputise for the ex-Hoffenheim star and will form the double-pivot alongside Robert Andrich. Marcus Ingvartsen, meanwhile, is a guaranteed starter in the number ten role.
Alternatively, he could join Sebastian Andersson upfront, should Union coach Urs Fischer employ a 4-4-2 setup. But either way, Sheraldo Becker and Marius Bulter will occupy the wide-attacking role. They will likely have to operate in a deeper role, however, given the quality of the opposition.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Subotic, Friedrich, Lenz; Schmiedebach, Andrich; Becker, Ingvartsen, Bulter; Andersson.
Borussia Dortmund have been dealt with a fresh blow after Axel Witsel picked up an adductor injury. He joins compatriot Thorgan Hazard on the sidelines while Raphael Guerreiro is unlikely to feature due to ongoing talks regarding a potential switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
Hazard will be replaced by Julian Brandt, who made quite an impact after coming on as a substitute against Koln. The ex-Bayer Leverkusen star will be partnered by Marco Reus and Sancho in the creative three, just behind the leader of Dortmund’s strikeforce – Paco Alcacer.
In midfield, the absence of Witsel will be a massive blow for the visitors. However, it could pave the way for Thomas Delaney to make his first appearance of this new season. He will form the double-pivot alongside Julian Weigl, who was horrendous against Koln and certainly needs to improve this weekend.
Lukasz Piszczek is likely to retain his place at right-back even though Achraf Hakimi made an excellent impression against Koln. The same can be said for Nico Schulz as well, who is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank. The central defensive pair will also remain unchanged with Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji featuring at the heart of Dortmund’s four-man backline.
And finally, Roman Burki will continue to start in between the sticks for BVB despite an awful performance in the last game.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji, Schulz; Weigl, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Brandt; Alcacer.
- This will be the third competitive meeting between the two sides. The previous two games took place in the second round of the DFB Pokal (2016-17 and 2018-19), with Dortmund winning both matches.
- Union Berlin were undefeated after 90 minutes in both their DFB Pokal meetings with Dortmund. In 2016-17, BVB won 3-0 on penalties whereas, in 2018-19, they triumphed 3-2 in extra time.
- Union Berlin have taken just one point from their first two Bundesliga matches. It’s the weakest start to a season for a newly-promoted team since Energie Cottbus in 2000-01 (0 points, two losses).
- Union Berlin have now gone two competitive home fixtures without scoring for the first time since October/November 2012.
- Borussia Dortmund are the highest scorers in the league so far, netting eight goals in just two matches.
Player to Watch
Union Berlin’s Subotic made 196 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Dortmund between 2008 to 2018. He was a part of the BVB side that won the double in 2012-13. His defensive partnership with Hummels was considered to be the best in the Bundesliga.
However, the Serbian will now be up against his former club Dortmund, which still has a special place in his heart for the first time since the 2016-17 season when he was playing for Koln (on loan). Hence, this will be an emotional game for the 30-year-old, who is still highly regarded among the Dortmund faithful.
Union Berlin 0-3 Borussia Dortmund
Union Berlin are new to the Bundesliga and are not used to facing quality teams like Borussia Dortmund week in week out. Therefore, it could be difficult for them to set out a proper plan against the Black and Yellows, although they will likely sit deep and contain pressure. We expect the visitors to secure a comfortable 3-0 win this weekend.