Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to maintain their incredible run of form when they play hosts to Union Berlin at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
It has been a positive start to the year for Borussia Dortmund. The Black and Yellows have scored five goals in each of their two games in the Ruckrunde so far, both of which ended in victories. And on Saturday, they will look to extend that run as they lock horns with Union Berlin.
A win this weekend could help Dortmund potentially close the gap at the top, with Die Schwarzgelben trailing league leaders RB Leipzig by only four points. But more importantly, it could seriously help the team gain some momentum as they look to recover, after a relatively disappointing Hinrunde campaign.
Union Berlin, meanwhile, put an end to their four-game winless run in their last game against FC Augsburg by securing a 2-0 victory. The three points helped them somehow stay afloat in mid-table. But, with Hertha performing well, Union simply can’t afford to keep losing matches if they are to finish above their cross-town rivals this season.
That being said, Union are one of only three sides to defeat Borussia Dortmund this season as they had secured a 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture. Coincidentally, it was their first-ever victory since their promotion to the top-flight.
Hence, the club from the capital will be confident of their chances against the Bundesliga giants. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will take a look at the two sides ahead of this crucial fixture this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre has no fresh injuries to deal with at the moment. But, he will still be missing out on the services of Thomas Delaney. On the bright side, Dan-Axel Zagadou is set to return to the starting lineup, after missing a few games due to injury.
The Frenchman’s return could come at the expense of Lukasz Piszczek. That means Manuel Akanji will shift into the right-sided centre-back slot, with Zagadou starting on the other end. The three-man backline will be led by Mats Hummels.
Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro, meanwhile, are guaranteed to occupy the wing-back slots. Their offensive support could be key as Dortmund look to overwhelm the Union Berlin backline this weekend.
Things could remain unchanged in midfield, where the duo of Axel Witsel and Julian Brandt have done quite well in recent weeks. Mahmoud Dahoud and Mario Gotze will serve as an additional option for Favre.
And finally, in attack, Marco Reus is tipped to retain his place in the number nine slot. That means Erling Haaland may once again have to wait to make his full debut for his new club. Reus is expected to be partnered by the offensive duo of Thorgan Hazard and Jadon Sancho while Roman Burki is a guaranteed starter in between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Akanji, Hummels, Zagadou; Hakimi, Witsel, Brandt, Guerreiro; Sancho, Reus, Hazard
Union Berlin coach Urs Fischer is expected to deploy a deep defensive line just like they did, in the reverse fixture. The towering back three of Kevin Schlotterbeck, Marvin Friedrich and ex-Dortmund star Neven Subotic will defend deep, almost inviting pressure from the Dortmund attackers.
That’s where the two central midfielders in Christian Gentner and Robert Andrich could come in handy. Both of them are known for their excellent work-rate and could easily drop in between the centre-halves, making Union more rigid during defensive phases.
Meanwhile, the two wing-backs in Christopher Trimmel and Christopher Lenz could play a key role in minimising the influence of both Guerreiro and Hakimi from the far side. They could also exploit their attacking mentality by initiating counter-attacks with long through balls.
The Union Berlin attack will be led by the towering Sebastian Andersson and Anthony Ujah, both of who are capable of making a difference with their scoring prowess. They will, however, be mainly supplied by the lone attacking midfielder in Marcus Ingvartsen.
Probable Lineup (5-2-1-2): Gikiewicz; Trimmel, Subotic, Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Lenz; Gentner, Andrich; Ingvartsen; Andersson, Ujah
- Union Berlin celebrated their first-ever Bundesliga victory in a 3-1 win over Dortmund on Matchday 3.
- Dortmund have played two competitive home games against Union, both in the DFB-Pokal. BVB won both meetings.
- Dortmund have lost just one of their last eight Bundesliga matches.
- Dortmund are the only Bundesliga team still undefeated at home this season. Last term, BVB suffered their first and only defeat at home in their 16th game of the season at Signal Iduna Park (4-2 against Schalke).
- Dortmund lost 3-1 in their first meeting against newly-promoted Union this season. They last lost both fixtures within a single season against a promoted side in 1999-2000 season (against SpVgg Unterhaching).
Player to Watch
As mentioned earlier, Witsel and Brandt have done a fantastic job for Dortmund in recent weeks. Brandt, in particular, has replaced the injured Delaney incredibly well despite being much more attack-oriented than his Danish counterpart.
Brandt’s ability to act as a ball-carrier, coupled with his incredible individual quality makes it difficult for defenders to keep an eye out on him. Moreover, he is also capable of finding the back of the net, which should definitely alert a Union side who are likely to defend their socks off in an attempt to prevent Dortmund from scoring this weekend.
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Union Berlin
The Dortmund defence could potentially fare better following the return of Zagadou. And as far as their attacking firepower is concerned, it should be enough to overwhelm a Union side, who are struggling to keep up with their injuries. Hence, we expect a 3-0 win for the hosts.