Borussia Dortmund will return home in desperate search for three points as they host Werder Bremen at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund are currently experiencing a rough patch, having failed to win in any of their last two matches in all competitions. They drew with FC Barcelona last week, in a game where they had at least four clear cut opportunities to score. It was followed by a 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt, where a late own goal from Thomas Delaney denied them a victory.
As a result, they are now trailing Bayern Munich by one point and league leaders RB Leipzig by three points. It is unlikely they’ll return to the top by the end of this weekend’s round of fixtures. But, they could continue to breathe on the necks of their rivals by securing all three points against Werder Bremen.
As for Bremen, themselves, they have had a mixed campaign thus far, picking up six points from five league games. They are coming on the back of a disastrous 3-0 defeat to RB Leipzig last weekend. Interestingly, there has been a red card incident in all of their last four matches in the Bundesliga, with Konrad Laimer of Leipzig notably getting sent off in the last match.
Either way, they will look to cause an upset this weekend against a Dortmund side that is low on confidence and quite vulnerable at the back. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of Saturday’s topspiel.
Team News & Tactics
Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has been true to the 4-2-3-1 setup this season. He is unlikely to make any change on that front. That means Paco Alcacer will continue to lead the Dortmund attack, with the creative trio of Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Julian Brandt starting in behind.
Favre will have one eye on the important Champions League fixture against Slavia Praha in midweek. Therefore, Achraf Hakimi could get a breather, paving the way for Lukasz Piszczek to return to the starting lineup after a short injury layoff. The Pole will regain his role at right-back.
Same cannot be said for Nico Schulz, who is still out injured, meaning Raphael Guerreiro will continue to feature on the opposite flank.
The midfield will remain unchanged with Thomas Delaney starting alongside Axel Witsel at the base of the 4-2-3-1. Julian Weigl was pushing for a start but will probably feature against Slavia Praha in the next game.
And in the core of the defence, Mats Hummels is a guaranteed starter alongside Manuel Akanji. These two will form the central defensive pairing, with Roman Burki starting in between the sticks for Borussia Dortmund this weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Brandt; Alcacer
Werder Bremen head coach Florian Kohfeldt experimented with a three-man backline for the first time against RB Leipzig this season. But, he could revert to a 4-5-1 setup. A classic 4-4-2 was an option but with no Yuya Osako, he could use that extra man in midfield.
That means Josh Sargent will be leading the Bremen attack all by himself, though he may receive some assistance from two attack-minded wide midfielders in Milot Rashica and Leonardo Bittencourt.
In midfield, Johannes Eggestein could make way for the experienced Nuri Sahin. It will be an emotional game for the Turkish international, who will be returning to the Signal Iduna Park for the second time after leaving Dortmund last summer.
Sahin will be partnered by Davy Klaassen and Maximilian Eggestein, both of who will play a key role in Bremen’s second line of press that will restrict the influence of players like Reus and Sancho.
And finally, in defence, new signing Marco Freidl will shift back to his preferred left-back role, with Michael Lang starting on the opposite flank. The central defence will comprise of Christian Gross and Theodore Gebre Selassie, both of who are deputising for the injured Sebastian Langkamp and club captain Niklas Moisander.
Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Pavlenka; Lang, Gebre Selassie, Gross, Friedl; Rashica, Eggestein, Sahin, Klaassen, Bittencourt; Sargent
- Borussia Dortmund have won 11 of their last 12 home Bundesliga games against Werder Bremen, losing the other in December 2017.
- Dortmund have scored in each of their last 16 Bundesliga meetings with Bremen, which is their longest scoring streak against any current Bundesliga side.
- Dortmund have only picked up more Bundesliga wins against Frankfurt (44) than they have versus Werder Bremen (43). Werder have won 41 of the 102 Bundesliga meetings.
- Dortmund have already conceded seven Bundesliga goals this season – as many as Leipzig and Bayern combined. Their only clean sheet came in their last home game against Bayer Leverkusen.
- Borussia Dortmund have scored at least two goals in 19 Bundesliga home games under Lucien Favre. They have only suffered one home loss during his tenure.
Player to Watch
This could be an important match for Alcacer, who has appeared tentative in attack, especially after the game against Bayer Leverkusen. He lacked the sharpness in attack in the last game against Eintracht Frankfurt as well, who salvaged a point through a late own goal from Delaney.
But, one positive for Dortmund from that game was the impressive performance from Mario Gotze. The German World Cup winner came on a substitute and showcased excellent hold-up play and technical prowess. And should Alcacer continue to stutter in front of goal, it won’t be a surprise to see Gotze starting over him in the number nine slot.
For Alcacer, performing against a decimated Bremen defence might be the best opportunity there is. Hence, the Spaniard will be one worth keeping an eye on in this fixture.
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Werder Bremen
Borussia Dortmund are almost invincible at home and are likely to dominate this game right from the start unless Bremen plan to make good use of their vulnerable defence. We can expect this to turn out into a goal-fest, though only one-sided.