Borussia Dortmund will aim to recover from a disastrous defeat to Bayern Munich when they face SC Paderborn at the Signal Iduna Park on Friday night.
Borussia Dortmund will have an excellent opportunity to pick themselves up following an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich when they lock horns with newly promoted and a struggling SC Paderborn side on Friday night.
Despite receiving a hammering against their arch-rivals in the last match, Dortmund could still potentially overtake the Bavarians, should they secure all three points against Paderborn, should results go their way. And although it is unlikely, registering a victory on Friday could be vital if they are to recover themselves and once again put up a strong fight to the top dogs of German football.
Paderborn, meanwhile, have been the worst team in the league so far, having attained just four points in eleven matches. They are, quite unsurprisingly, dawdling at the bottom of the table and are a strong contender to be relegated by the end of the campaign.
However, despite their poor run of form, the club deserves credit for sticking with coach Steffen Baumgart, whose influence was critical behind their promotion to the Bundesliga. And with nothing to lose, the visitors will be desperate to cause an upset against the Black and Yellows this week.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their match-up in the Bundesliga on Friday.
Tactics & Team News
Lucien Favre received a massive blow this week after Thomas Delaney was ruled out for the rest of the year, having picked up an injury during the international break. The Dane’s absence means Julian Weigl is almost a guaranteed starter in central midfield, alongside the ever-present figure of Axel Witsel.
Lukasz Piszczek has recently announced his retirement from the Polish national team. He could start as the right-back in this fixture, with Achraf Hakimi relocating to the opposite flank, ahead of Nico Schulz.
Mats Hummels, meanwhile, will be roaring to get back into action. The German appeared strong and lucid following Dortmund’s defeat to Bayern and his leadership at the back would be critical as the hosts look to get back to winning ways. The veteran defender is likely to be partnered by Manuel Akanji at the heart of the backline.
In attack, Marco Reus is tipped to return to the starting lineup along with Paco Alcacer, both of whom started on the bench against Bayern. Thorgan Hazard is likely to get the nod ahead of Julian Brandt on the left wing, having performed well during the international break.
And finally, the right-wing slot will be occupied by Jadon Sancho, whose trickery and pace could cause a lot of problems for the Paderborn defenders.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Akanji, Hummels, Hakimi; Weigl, Witsel; Sancho, Reus, Hazard; Alcacer
Much like Dortmund, Paderborn may have to deal with the potential absence of one of their key players in Uwe Hunemeier. The experienced central defender is unlikely to return to fitness in time and could be deputised by the exciting Luca Kilian, who was once a member of the Dortmund academy.
Kilian, alongside Sebastian Schonlau, could play a key role, with coach Baumgart expected to employ a deep defensive line. Therefore, it won’t be surprising to see the number six in Klaus Gjasula operate in a relatively deeper role.
Abdelhamid Sabiri, meanwhile, will arguably be Paderborn’s most important player going forward. The attacking midfielder has made quite an impression with his performances in recent week. His dynamism and tenacity could help the visitors put pressure on the fragile Dortmund backline.
We also suspect a change in attack, with Sven Michel replacing the blunt Streli Mamba in the number nine slot. It will be interesting to see how Michel and Sabiri combine in the final third, though they will get very limited opportunities.
Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Zingerle; Dräger, Kilian, Schonlau, Collins; Pröger, Gjasula, Sabiri, Holtmann; Vasiliadis; Michel
- Borussia Dortmund have picked up 13 points at their Signal Iduna Park compared to just six on the road this season.
- With nine defeats in 11 games, Paderborn have a joint-worst return by this stage. The six previous teams to have avoided defeat just twice by Matchday 11 have been relegated come the end of the season.
- Die Schwarzgelben boast an intimidating record against Paderborn, though. Of their four previous meetings, Dortmund have won three, drawn one, and scored 16 goals to Paderborn’s five.
- Paderborn have scored five of their 11 goals inside the first 15 minutes of their games this season – a league joint-best. They have dropped seven points from winning positions, though.
- Thorgan Hazard has six assists in the Bundesliga this season – a league joint-best with Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller.
Player to Watch
Borussia Dortmund clearly felt the absence of Reus in the last game. His work ethic and tenacity was something that was missing in the final third, which allowed the Bayern Munich players to gain full control of the game.
But, with the German international set to return to the starting lineup this week, Dortmund would appear much stronger going forward. Not to mention, Reus is likely to reunite with Paco Alcacer in the attack. The Spaniard could be making his first start since Matchday 5.
At the same time, Reus is sure to receive a lot of attention from the Paderborn defenders. And given their rigid shape, it would be tricky to find space in the final third. Hence, Reus is someone viewers would definitely want to keep an eye on this week.
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 SC Paderborn
As iterated earlier, it is an ideal situation for Borussia Dortmund to be facing a struggling Paderborn side and it will not be surprising to see the Black and Yellows spring back to winning form with a convincing victory over the newly-promoted outfit.
Dortmund have the home support, which is coupled with the return of Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer, making them huge favourites to seal all three points here. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-0 win for Lucien Favre & co.