Borussia Dortmund will be looking to keep the pressure on leaders Bayern Munich when they take on VfL Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena this weekend.
After resuming the 2019-20 campaign in spectacular fashion last weekend, Borussia Dortmund will be aiming to build on that when they travel to the Volkswagen Arena to face off against VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday afternoon.
Dortmund ensured an eventful restart to the Bundesliga after a two-month layoff, as they thrashed arch rivals Schalke 4-0 at the Signal Iduna Park last Saturday. With Bayern Munich also winning their fixture against Union Berlin, Lucien Favre’s side remain four points below the league leaders in second place.
With the reigning champions scheduled to play Eintracht Frankfurt later on Saturday, the Black and Yellows have a good chance to put them under pressure with a win. At the same time, with Borussia Monchengladbach breathing down their necks, Dortmund cannot afford to slip up.
Wolfsburg, on the other hand, are vying for the final European qualification spot. The Wolves are currently stationed in the sixth spot in the Bundesliga table, after their nail-biting 2-1 victory over Augsburg last weekend. Currently on a seven-game unbeaten run in the league, they will need to pick up a victory on Saturday to strengthen their hold on the sixth spot with Schalke and SC Freiburg right behind.
The reverse fixture saw Dortmund pick up a 3-0 win, with second half goals from Thorgan Hazard, Raphael Guerreiro and Mario Gotze. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
The big news for Die Wolfe heading into the weekend is that leading goalscorer Wout Weghort is back from suspension and should walk right into the starting XI. Manager Oliver Glasner, though, will have to continue without the services of William, Yannick Gerhardt and captain Joshua Guilavogui.
There are unlikely to be any significant changes to tactics or personnel heading into Saturday’s game, with Glasner expected to set his team up in the usual 4-2-3-1 formation. Starting in goal should be Belgian international Koen Casteels, who has kept just four clean sheets in the league so far. He could be in for a busy outing this weekend.
With William unavailable, Kevin Mbabu should continue as the right-back for Wolfsburg, while Paulo Otavio ought to be retained on the opposite side, after providing an assist in the last game. John Brooks and January arrival Marin Pongracic should form the central defensive partnership once again for the hosts.
The two-man midfield unit of Maximilian Arnold and Xaver Schlager will be tasked with snuffing out the creative outlets of Dortmund, Admir Mehmedi, who hasn’t had the most productive season this time out, should once again feature in the No.10 slot and will look to support the main striker.
21-year-old Josip Brekalo, who has three goals and four assists in the league, should continue on the left, while Renato Steffen should move to the right flank, with Joao Victor dropping out. Weghorst ought to lead the line for Wolfsburg, meaning Daniel Ginczek, who scored the last minute winner against Augsburg, starts on the bench again.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Casteels; Mbabu, Brooks, Pongracic, Otavio; Schlager, Arnold; Steffen, Mehmedi, Brekalo; Weghorst
Having started on the bench last time out due to a minor groin problem, Jadon Sancho is fit and ready to feature from the get-go. Dortmund will also have Emre Can available after the German international missed the last game. However, they continue to be without the services of Axel Witsel, Dan-Axel Zagadou and Marco Reus, who could be out for the season.
Much like his counterpart, Lucien Favre, too, is likely to keep changes at a minimum, especially after the commanding display in the Revierderby last time out. Roman Burki, who secured a rare clean sheet, ought to continue in goal, with Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji, who is a summer target for Arsenal, set to continue in the three-man backline.
Achraf Hakimi is the obvious choice as the right-sided wing-back, while Raphael Guerreiro should once again feature on the left after his brilliant two-goal performance upon the resumption of the campaign.
Mahmoud Dahoud got a rare start last weekend, but with Can back fit, he should drop back out of the team. Julian Brandt, who grabbed two assists against Schalke, is likely to move into the central midfield alongside his compatriot, to accommodate Sancho on the right flank. Thorgan Hazard, who also was on the scoresheet last weekend, will be retained on the left.
Erling Haaland, who scored his tenth Bundesliga goal in just nine matches since joining in January, should continue to spearhead the attack for the Black and Yellows.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji; Hakimi, Can, Brandt, Guerreiro; Sancho, Haaland, Hazard
- VfL Wolfsburg are unbeaten in their previous seven Bundesliga matches (W4 D3). Their last defeat came in January against Hertha Berlin.
- Borussia Dortmund, on the other hand, have won five in a row since their 4-3 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in February. That remains the only occasion they have dropped points since the turn of the year.
- Wolfsburg’s top goalscorer Wout Weghorts, who has scored 11 goals so far this season, is yet to find the back of the net in three games against Dortmund.
- The Black and Yellows are the only Bundesliga team who have three players with ten or more goals scored this season – Erling Haaland (10), Marco Reus (11), and Jadon Sancho (14).
- Borussia Dortmund are undefeated in their last nine meetings against Wolfsburg (W8 D1) in all competitions. Their last defeat against the Wolves came in 2015, in the DFB-Pokal final. BVB have won four in a row at the Volkswagen Arena in the Bundesliga.
Player to Watch
All eyes were on the England international when the season resumed last week, but surprisingly, he was left out on the bench by manager Lucien Favre. Having recovered from the minor niggle, Jadon Sancho is expected to start against Wolfsburg on Saturday and will be the player to watch out for.
The 20-year-old has been in brilliant form this season, having bagged 14 goals in the Bundesliga this season, while assisting 16 more. Those are mind-boggling numbers indeed. His pace and dribbling ability, coupled with quality end product makes him a dangerous prospect for opponents.
Wolfsburg, though, have been solid at the back this season, boasting the joint third-best defensive record in the Bundesliga. This makes up for an interesting battle on Saturday.
VfL Wolfsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
Wolfsburg are unbeaten in their last seven league outings and come into the game on the back of a last-ditch 2-1 win against Augsburg last weekend. Borussia Dortmund, too, have been in good form since the turn of the year and will be in confident mood after absolutely thrashing arch rivals Schalke in the last game.
A tight encounter can be expected on Saturday. However, given the form that the likes of Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt are in, the hosts might have some problems stifling the Dortmund attack. In addition, BVB haven’t lost their previous nine games against Die Wolfe. And so, we at The Hard Tackle expect them to extend that streak to ten this weekend.