Borussia Dortmund will look to return to winning ways as they travel to Olympiastadion to face Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
Lucien Favre will have his job on the line when Borussia Dortmund lock horns with Hertha Berlin on Saturday. The Black and Yellows are winless in their last three matches in all competitions, a run that included a humiliating 4-0 defeat against Bayern Munich. They have also recently lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
So essentially, the pressure will be high, especially after CEO Hans Joachim-Watzke’s strong words earlier this month. Therefore, it could turn out to be a must-win game for Dortmund, who have slipped to sixth in the Bundesliga table. A win, however, could potentially help them overtake fourth-placed SC Freiburg.
Hertha, meanwhile, have recently sacked Ante Covic and have appointed Jurgen Klinsmann as their head coach until the end of the season. This is the German’s first managerial stint following his spell with the USMNT a few years ago.
It could, thus, turn out to be an exciting game for the Berlin fans, who simply don’t know what to expect from this team when they come out this weekend. But one thing is for certain – the hosts will be looking to cause an upset against a Dortmund side, who have looked susceptible in recent weeks.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the sides ahead of their crucial match-up in the Bundesliga tomorrow afternoon.
Team News & Tactics
It is difficult to predict how exactly Klinsmann would operate in his first game in charge of Berlin. But, it is known that he does prefer a 4-4-2 setup, which could actually be useful in putting pressure on the Dortmund defenders.
Therefore, we might expect Davie Selke and Vedad Ibisevic to form the offensive duo. Both of them are known for their tenacity and physical prowess, which should be enough to hurry and hassle the opposing centre-backs.
Vladimir Darida, however, may not get recognition in the final third due to the departure of Covic, who was clever to utilise the midfielder in the first line of press. He could make way for Dodi Lukabakio on the left wing while Marius Wolf could start on the opposite flank.
It will be interesting to see how the ex-Frankfurt star plays against his parent club. His tenacity and energy on the flank might be useful for the home side.
And finally, in defence, Dedryck Boyata may continue alongside Niklas Stark. Klinsmann does, however, have other options including Karim Rekik and Jordan Torunarigha. Lukas Klunter and Maximilian Mittelstadt, on the other hand, are expected to occupy the full-back slots while Thomas Kraft will replace the suspended Rune Jarstein in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Kraft; Klunter, Stark, Boyata, Mittelstadt; Wolf, Grujic, Duda, Lukebakio; Ibisevic, Selke
Favre is expected to ring in the changes after a disappointing defeat to Barcelona in midweek. Achraf Hakimi could return to his customary right-back slot, at the expense of Lukasz Piszczek. As for Raphael Guerreiro, he might be rewarded with a start on the opposite flank, ahead of Nico Schulz, who looks like a worse acquisition than Joo-Ho Park.
The central defensive pairing of Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji could remain unchanged, though Dan-Axel Zagadou is an option.
Dortmund are devoid of options in central midfield, thanks to the injury of Thomas Delaney. That means both Julian Weigl and Axel Witsel are likely to form the double-pivot.
Moving forward, we could expect Jadon Sancho to be given a start after impressing as a substitute against Barcelona. He will start at right-wing, with Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard completing the creative trio for the visiting side.
Paco Alcacer, meanwhile, remains a doubt heading into this fixture. Julian Brandt is the obvious replacement, but it won’t be surprising to see Mario Gotze getting the nod ahead of the former Bayer Leverkusen star, in the number nine slot.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Hakimi, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Weigl, Witsel; Sancho, Reus, Hazard; Gotze
- Hertha BSC have won just one of their last 11 competitive fixtures against Borussia Dortmund.
- Borussia Dortmund have not won any of their last three Bundesliga matches against teams from the bottom half of the table (D2, L1). Their last win against such a side came against then-13th place Köln on Matchday 2 (3-1).
- Hertha have taken just 11 points from 12 Bundesliga matches this season. They last had fewer points at this stage of a campaign in 2009-10, when they were relegated.
- Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre, who was previously in charge of Hertha BSC from July 2007 to September 2009, has lost just one of his 11 competitive fixtures against his former club (W7, D3).
- Hertha lost both of their recent Bundesliga home games against Hoffenheim and Leipzig. A defeat against BVB this weekend would be the first time since 2014-15 that Hertha have lost three consecutive top-flight matches at home.
Player to Watch
Favre blamed Sancho for lacking focus ahead of the Barcelona game, which is why he was left out on the bench. But, the English international made a quick impact after coming on as a substitute in the second half. His pace and trickery provided a lot of threat for Dortmund going forward, and in the end, he did up scoring the only goal for his side.
Nonetheless, Sancho will have a point to prove after a rough couple of weeks. And a solid performance against Berlin could give him the confidence he needs to help Dortmund achieve a proper end to their Hinrunde campaign this year.
However, the youngster could find it difficult to expose an equally talented individual in Maximilian Mittselstadt. The young Hertha left-back is known for his focus and concentration. Hence, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top this weekend.
Hertha Berlin 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund are perhaps a bit lucky to be facing a Hertha Berlin side, who have struggled for the most part of the campaign. And the change of managers could further complicate things for the Old Lady, making the visitors are firm favourites to seal all three points this weekend.