Borussia Dortmund will be aiming to kickstart November on a positive note as they host VfL Wolfsburg at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

After a disappointing run of form throughout October, Borussia Dortmund will have a daunting challenge ahead as they look to recover before the end of Hinrunde. The Black and Yellows are currently fifth in the league table but only two points separate from tenth-placed TSG Hoffenheim.

That means failing to win against Wolfsburg this weekend could allow even Eintracht Frankfurt to overtake them in the table. Not to mention, it will also enable FC Schalke to take a slight advantage, with the two sides having drawn the Revierderby.

Wolfsburg, on the other hand, have been one of the most impressive teams in the league alongside leaders Borussia Monchengladbach. In fact, the Wolves are currently on the team in the Bundesliga to remain unbeaten so far, though they have also secured the most number of draws(5).

Regardless, Olivier Glasner’s men will look to retain their solidity at the back and look to catch BVB on the counter. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at both the sides ahead of this enticing matchup in the Bundesliga this weekend.

Tactics & Team News

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre will have one eye on the all-important Champions League match against Inter Milan in midweek. Hence, we can expect the Swiss to drop some of his key players, including Julian Brandt.

The ex-Bayer Leverkusen starred as Dortmund somehow managed to seal a narrow win over Gladbach to advance to the next round of DFB Pokal. Brandt is likely to be replaced by Raphael Guerreiro on the left flank while Marco Reus will return in the number ten role.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - AUGUST 17: Lucien Favre, head coach of Dortmund looks on during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg at Signal Iduna Park on August 17, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Favre could ring in the changes this weekend. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Jadon Sancho, however, could continue to start over Thorgan Hazard at right-wing. The Englishman will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the spark in attack. Speaking of which, the Dortmund attack will likely be led by Paco Alcacer, who is expected to return from injury. Mario Gotze is also an option.

There will changes in defence too, with Dan-Axel Zagadou likely to make way for Mats Hummels, who will partner Manuel Akanji at the heart of the backline. Elsewhere, Lukasz Piszczek and Achraf Hakim could feature as fullbacks while Julian Weigl may retain his place in the starting lineup.

Weigl’s presence in midfield means Thomas Delaney will have to settle for a place on the bench, having performed poorly in October.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Akanji, Hummels, Hakimi; Weigl, Witsel; Sancho, Reus, Guerreiro; Alcacer.

VfL Wolfsburg

Despite their undefeated status in the Bundesliga, Wolfsburg endured a heavy 6-1 defeat at the hands of Leipzig in the DFB Pokal in midweek. Coach Glasner will look to recover from this by lining the strongest possible eleven against Dortmund.

WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - OCTOBER 30: Oliver Glasner, Head Coach of VfL Wolfsburg looks on prior to the DFB Cup second round match between VfL Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig at Volkswagen Arena on October 30, 2019 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Glasner’s men could face their biggest test of the season this weekend. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

John Anthony Brooks will return to the heart of Wolfsburg’s three-man backline. He will be partnered by Marcel Tisserand and Robin Knoche, who might replace the struggling figure of Jeffrey Bruma. It will be interesting to see how these three deal with the Dortmund attack.

Ignacio Camacho’s injury means Glasner will once again deploy Josuha Guilavogui in the holding midfield role, where he will be supported by the industrious Maximilian Arnold.

Elsewhere, Kevin Mbabu may have to settle for a place on the bench while Willian, one of the best right-backs in the league this season, will operate in the right wing-back slot. Jeremy Rousillon is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank.

And finally, the Wolves attack will be led by talismanic forward Wout Weghorst. The Dutchman will be provided the creative service by the two attackers in Josip Brekalo and Felix Klaus.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Pervan; Knoche, Brooks, Tisserand; William, Guilavoogui, Arnold, Roussilon; Brekalo, Klaus; Weghorst.

Key Stats

  • Reus has scored more Bundesliga goals against Wolfsburg (10) than any current Dortmund player, all coming in his last 11 appearances against the Wolves.
  • Borussia have scored in each of their last 29 Bundesliga home games – a club record – since a goalless draw against Wolfsburg in January 2018.
  • BVB are unbeaten in their last eight Bundesliga matches against Wolfsburg (W7, D1) since a 2-1 defeat at the Volkswagen Arena in May 2015. They haven’t lost to the Wolves at the Signal Iduna Park since December 2012 (3-2).
  • Weghorst has scored 22 Bundesliga goals since joining Wolfsburg in summer 2018. In that time only Dortmund’s Alcacer (23 goals) and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (35) have scored more.
  • Wolfsburg boast the Bundesliga’s tightest defence (five conceded) and are the only remaining team that are unbeaten.

Player to Watch

Paco Alcacer

MONACO - DECEMBER 11: (EDITORS NOTE: STAR EFFECT FILTER USED TO CREATE THIS PICTURE!) Paco Alcacer of Dortmund celebrates victory after winning the UEFA Champions League Group A match between AS Monaco and Borussia Dortmund at Stade Louis II on December 11, 2018 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Alcacer’s return will serve as a huge boost for the home side. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

As mentioned earlier, Dortmund will be boosted by the return of Alcacer this week. The Spaniard is in line to make his first Bundesliga appearance since matchday 5. During his spell on the sidelines, the Black and Yellows have dearly missed the presence of a dynamic centre forward.

But, with now Alcacer likely to be back in action, it will be interesting to see how the hosts perform against Wolfsburg this weekend. The ex-Barcelona star has an almost telepathic combination with the likes of Reus and Sancho, which could be essential as they look to breach the Wolves defence.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Wolfsburg

Borussia Dortmund have barely lost at home under the leadership of Favre. But, it could once again turn out to be a frustrating afternoon for the Bundesliga giants, especially given the fact that Wolfsburg conceded five goals – fewer than any other team in the league. Thus, we expect a goalless draw.

 

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