Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to get back on track when they host Bayer Leverkusen at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund will welcome their former manager Peter Bosz at the Westfalenstadion as they face Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday afternoon. They will be desperate for a victory following an embarrassing defeat to newly-promoted Union Berlin, who registered their first-ever Bundesliga win with a 3-1 triumph over Dortmund.
The defeat allowed Bayern Munich to overtake them, although it is RB Leipzig who are leading the table with three wins in three matches. But, with both Munich and Leipzig taking on each other this weekend, Dortmund should look to take advantage and pip the sides in the league table.
That being said, things could be difficult against Leverkusen. Die Werkself have become one of the most promising sides in the league following the arrival of Bosz earlier this year. They are currently standing fourth in the league table, a place ahead of Dortmund.
The factory giants are coming on the back of a goalless draw with TSG Hoffenheim in their last game. They will be hoping for a much better attacking output against the Black and Yellows, however, especially considering their vulnerable defence. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we run the rule over these two well-matched teams ahead of their highly anticipated clash this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
After weeks of speculation, Borussia Dortmund are finally on the verge of extending the contract of Raphael Guerreiro. The Portuguese international will be available for selection as well and might even start ahead of Julian Brandt on the left-wing.
Guerreiro will be partnered by Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho in the creative trifecta, just in behind central striker Paco Alcacer. The Spaniard will be looking to extend his scoring tally, having already netted four goals in three matches.
Lucien Favre has confirmed that Axel Witsel has returned to training and is expected to be in contention to start. However, it seems unlikely that he will feature, meaning Thomas Delaney is set to continue in the double pivot alongside Julian Weigl. Mahmoud Dahoud is also an option.
Nico Schulz has been ruled out as he is still recovering from an injury he picked up during the international break. Achraf Hakimi will deputise for the injured German international at left-back, while Lukasz Piszczek is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank.
Manuel Akanji, meanwhile, is unlikely to feature against Leverkusen, which should pave the way for Dan-Axel Zagadou to start alongside Mats Hummels in central defence. Newly capped Argentine international Leonardo Balerdi is also an option but is unlikely to be risked in such a high profile game.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Zagadou, Hakimi; Weigl, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Guerreiro; Alcacer
Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz has no real injury problems at the moment, except for Joel Pohjanpalo. The Finnish international has returned to training after a long injury layoff, but is lacking match fitness. Both Lucas Alario and Kevin Volland, meanwhile, are available for selection, although the Dutchman is likely to go with the latter.
Volland will be partnered by the wide attacking duo of Leon Bailey and Karim Bellarabi, both of whom have started the season extremely well. Bailey, in particular, will seek to take full advantage of Piszczek’s lack of pace on the left flank and bombard the Dortmund defence.
As far as creativity is concerned, Kai Havertz and Kerem Demirbay will be deployed in the advanced midfield roles of the 4-3-3. Havertz has been a subject of interest from Borussia Dortmund in recent weeks, with Reus claiming that he will try his best to convince his Germany teammate to join the Black and Yellows.
Charles Aranguiz is likely to start ahead of Julian Baumgartlinger in the holding midfield role. The Chilean international will be in charge of disrupting Dortmund’s passing rhythm and isolating Weigl in the middle of the park.
And finally, in defence, ex-Dortmund star Sven Bender will return to his former stomping ground. He will partner Jonathan Tah at centre-back while the duo of Lars Bender and Wendell will operate as the full-backs.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hradecky; Lars Bender, Tah, Sven Bender, Wendell; Demirbay, Aranguiz, Havertz; Bellarabi, Volland, Bailey
- Borussia Dortmund have won each of their last three Bundesliga games against Bayer Leverkusen. They are also unbeaten in the last five meetings.
- Dortmund have won each of their last four home matches against Leverkusen, scoring at least three goals in each game.
- After two wins to start the season, Dortmund slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Union Berlin on Matchday 3. They didn’t suffer their Bundesliga loss of 2018-19 until Matchday 16 – again at the hands of a newly-promoted side (Fortuna Dusseldorf).
- Dortmund have scored at least once in each of their last 26 Bundesliga home games and at least twice in the last 18.
- Borussia Dortmund have been 1-0 down in each of their three Bundesliga games this season – only Hertha BSC have also conceded the first goal in each game.
Player to Watch
Havertz has become one of the hottest prospects in world football following an incredible 2018-19 campaign that saw him bag 17 goals and two assists. As a result, he has caught the attention of several top clubs across Europe, including Borussia Dortmund.
It is believed that the Bundesliga giants do not want to see him join Bayern Munich and are, therefore, exploring the possibility of signing the German international next summer. This, in turn, will be an excellent opportunity for Havertz, himself, to showcase his talents in front of the Dortmund crowd.
The 20-year-old will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the creative thrust in the final third. He could also team up with the likes of Karim Bellarabi and Leon Bailey and create havoc in the Dortmund penalty area. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top between him and Jadon Sancho this weekend.
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen have been Borussia Dortmund’s bogey team in the past couple of years. But, things could get much trickier against Peter Bosz, who is well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of certain Dortmund players. Therefore, Die Werkself will come fully prepared, though we expect the hosts to seal a narrow victory in this encounter.