Borussia Dortmund will be aiming to return to winning ways when they face off against bottom feeders SC Paderborn at the Benteler-Arena.
After the disappointing outcome in the midweek, Borussia Dortmund will be looking to bounce back strongly when they travel to the Benteler-Arena to take on relegation battlers SC Paderborn on Sunday.
Last Tuesday saw Dortmund pretty much get knocked out of the Bundesliga title race, after they were beaten 1-0 by leaders Bayern Munich. With the gap to the top increased to seven points now, Lucien Favre’s side cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to push their rivals in the final phase of the season.
Paderborn, on the other hand, are without a win in their last nine league fixtures, drawing their previous three in a row. Following their midweek 0-0 draw against Augsburg, Steffen Baumgart’s men remain rooted to the bottom of the table, with a huge mountain to climb to ensure safety, as they are eleven points behind Mainz in 15th.
The reverse fixture, played in November last year, saw Paderborn almost pull off a huge upset, having taken a three-goal lead at half-time, only for Dortmund to pull off a late comeback to salvage a point from the game. Ahead of their latest meeting this weekend, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Steffen Baumgart will be without the services of midfielder Klaus Gjasula, who is suspended for the game, having picked up 15 yellow cards this season. Former Dortmund youngster, Luca Kilian is a doubt for the game due to fitness problems. Other than that, the hosts have a clean bill of health as they look for a first win since the restart of the season.
The manager is expected to set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation on Sunday. 26-year-old Leopold Zingerle will be guarding the goal for Paderborn and could very well be in for a busy outing.
Mohamed Drager is expected to come back in the starting XI at right-back, with Jamilu Collins slotting in at left-back. Seasoned campaigner Uwe Hunemeier should pair up with Sebastian Schonlau at the heart of the Paderborn defence.
The two-man midfield pivot could see Sebastian Vasiliadis pair up with Marlon Ritter, who is likely to replace the suspended Gjasula. The threat from the wide areas will come from Gerrit Holtmann, who had scored a goal in the reverse fixture, and Christopher Antwi-Adjei.
Upfront Streli Bamba, who bagged a brace the last time Paderborn faced Dortmund, will should start alongside Dennis Srbeny. Both the strikers have five goals apiece in the Bundesliga this season.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Zingerle; Drager, Schonlau, Hunemeier, Collins; Holtmann, Ritter, Vasiliadis, Antwi-Adjei; Bamba, Srbeny
The big news coming out of the Dortmund camp is that star striker Erling Haaland will miss the weekend clash due to a knee injury he picked up against Bayern Munich. In addition, midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud, who had been enjoying some rare game-time, has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
Lucien Favre will once again be without the services of captain Marco Reus, Nico Schulz and Dan-Axel Zagadou. With a couple of fresh injury concerns, the manager will be forced into making changes to the starting XI that featured in midweek.
Roman Burki will continue to man the goal for BVB, with a three-man backline of Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji providing security in front of him. Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro are the obvious picks as the wing-backs on the right and left sides, given the form they have been in.
Dahoud’s injury should mean Emre Can should get a starting berth against Paderborn, with Axel Witsel returning to fitness only recently. Thomas Delaney will occupy the second central midfield slot on Sunday.
Julian Brandt has been in fine form for Dortmund and should start on the left flank this weekend, with Jadon Sancho set to return to the starting XI on the right wing. In the injury-enforced absence of Haaland, Thorgan Hazard is expected to slot into a more central role. Mario Gotze is another option at the manager’s disposal.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji; Hakimi, Can, Delaney, Guerreiro; Sancho, Hazard, Brandt
- Borussia Dortmund have never lost a competitive match to Paderborn (W3 D2). They average at least two goals in these games.
- Two of the three Bundesliga meetings between Dortmund and Paderborn have ended in draws. The other fixture saw the Black and Yellows pick up a victory.
- Dortmund have three players who have scored 10 or more goals in the Bundesliga this season – Erling Haaland (10), Marco Reus (11) and Jadon Sancho (14). Paderborn have scored fewer goals (31) than the combined tally of the three BVB players.
- Paderborn striker Dennis Srbeny, who joined in January, is currently the joint-highest goalscorer for the club in the Bundesliga with five goals. The 26-year-old has netted four in his last seven appearances.
- Dortmund have been in good form on the road of late, having won their previous three matches away from home.
Player to Watch
Only Jadon Sancho (15) and Thomas Müller (16) have provided more Bundesliga assists than Thorgan Hazard this season (12).
He means business. pic.twitter.com/ughwBS7RvR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 23, 2020
The likes of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho have been in the limelight, and deservedly so, but Thorgan Hazard has been an equally important player for Borussia Dortmund over the course of the 2019-20 campaign. The 27-year-old has bagged six goals and twelve assists in 27 Bundesliga matches so far this season.
In three fixtures since the resumption of the campaign, the Belgian attacker has chipped in with a goal and two assists, making a solid impression. With Haaland ruled out of the weekend clash, Hazard is likely to be thrust into a central role against Paderborn and will have to step up and deliver the goods in front of goal for the Black and Yellows.
SC Paderborn 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Paderborn may be staring at the prospect of relegation, but they have shown over the course of the campaign that they can hold their own against the big teams. However, they will be coming up against a Borussia Dortmund side that will be licking their wounds after the midweek defeat that pretty much put an end to their title hopes.
The hosts will not be pushovers by any means and will make things hard for their opponents on Sunday. And while Dortmund will be without Erling Haaland and Marco Reus, the team still has plenty of quality, which should help them see off the challenge from the bottom feeders. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the Black and Yellows.