Borussia Dortmund’s tricky run of fixtures get underway on Saturday when they travel to Borussia Park to face Borussia Monchengladbach.
This will be a tough and significant month for Borussia Dortmund. The Black and Yellows, who are hoping to oust RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich for the league title this season, are set to face the likes of Gladbach, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Schalke and VfL Wolfsburg in March. Moreover, they start April with Der Klassiker against Bayern.
And their tough run of fixture starts this Saturday when they lock horns with Gladbach. There were a lot of speculations heading into this game due to the spread of Coronavirus. In fact, Borussia Park is just 10 kilometres away from Heinsberg, the district most strongly affected by the virus in the whole of Germany.
However, the authorities have decided not to postpone the game, which could be bad news for Dortmund given their competitive schedule. Gladbach, on the other hand, will have no complaints, having remained unbeaten in their last five Bundesliga matches.
That being said, the Foals are set to face 1.FC Koln in midweek due to their lack of involvement in the European competitions. They notably failed to qualify for the knockout rounds of the UEFA Europa League, finishing third in Group J that consisted of Istanbul Basaksehir, AS Roma and Wolfsberg.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this highly awaited encounter this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Marcus Thuram is a doubt heading into this fixture for Borussia Monchengladbach. Coach Marco Rose did sound hopeful on the potential return of the Frenchman, who trained with the team yesterday. His return to the team is pretty much on the cards, however. He could feature alongside Alassane Plea in the Gladbach attack.
Lars Stindl has been in excellent form and has finally returned to his former self. He is more than expected to retain his role in the number ten role. His work ethic and industry could be key in exploiting a rather weak-looking Dortmund defence.
In midfield, Rose could deploy the reliable trifecta of Denis Zakaria, Florian Neuhaus and Christoph Kramer. These three must perform in the middle of the park if Gladbach are to have any chance of dominating Dortmund this weekend.
And finally in defence, Rose is unlikely to make any changes. Ramy Bensebaini has been performing really well and is a guaranteed starter at left-back. Same can be said about Stefan Lainer on the opposite flank. Nico Elvedi and Matthias Ginter are the two central defenders, with Yann Sommer starting in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Neuhaus, Kramer, Zakaria; Stindl; Plea, Thuram
Borussia Dortmund will continue to miss out on the services of captain Marco Reus while Thomas Delaney is a doubt. Both the players are nearing their return to full fitness, however.
Nonetheless, Lucien Favre won’t have any reason to make any changes to the squad aside from bringing in Erling Haaland. The Norwegian wunderkind was not fully fit in the game against SC Freiburg but is expected to return to the starting lineup this weekend. He is set to start in the number nine role.
Julian Brandt’s return to full fitness has been a blessing for Dortmund. The German international featured alongside Jadon Sancho in the final third in the last game. But, he could be given a breather, with Favre having one eye on the important Champions League fixture against PSG. This will pave the way for Thorgan Hazard to retain his place in the lineup.
Emre Can has been a revelation for Dortmund since joining from Juventus in the summer. His presence alongside Axel Witsel could be critical in dealing with the dynamic press of Gladbach. The wing-backs in Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi will also be vital in Dortmund’s chance creation.
In defence, Manuel Akanji will continue to spend time on the bench, paving the way for Dan-Axel Zagadou to retain his role in the starting lineup. He will partner Mats Hummels and Lukasz Piszczek in the three-man backline.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Zagadou; Hakimi, Witsel, Can, Guerreiro; Sancho, Hazard; Haaland
- Dortmund have won their last nine Bundesliga games against Gladbach – neither side had previously enjoyed a winning streak this long in the history of this fixture. This is also BVB’s longest winning run against any current Bundesliga side.
- Gladbach have only suffered more Bundesliga home defeats against VfB Stuttgart (14), than they have versus Borussia Dortmund (13).
- None of the last 48 competitive meetings Gladbach and Dortmund have ended goalless. The last time this fixture ended 0-0 was in April 1994 in the Bundesliga in Gladbach.
- Gladbach are on a five-game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga. They last avoided defeat in more consecutive matches between April and August 2017 (6 games).
- Gladbach haven’t lost any of their last nine Bundesliga home games, although they only drew 1-1 with Hoffenheim the last time out after eight straight wins. Their last home defeat came at the of August against Leipzig.
Player to Watch
With Reus missing out and Brandt likely to be rested, it is needless to say that this game will once again revolve around Haaland. The youngster is back in full fitness and having netted an incredible nine goals in just seven Bundesliga matches, he is someone Gladbach should be wary of.
Haaland’s ability to sense an opportunity coupled with his positional awareness have made Dortmund much more productive going forward. And with the most focus often being directed towards the likes of Sancho and Hazard, the Norwegian often finds time and space to showcase his skills.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see what steps Rose takes in order to stop this talismanic striker, who is more than capable of changing the complexion of this tie.
Borussia Monchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Gladbach have performed really well at home this season. In fact, they have been one of the best home teams in the league. However, Dortmund’s rejuvenated attack following the arrival of Haaland could simply prove too much for the Foals to deal with, though we do expect the hosts to put up a strong fight.