Borussia Dortmund could be running the risk of losing out in the Bundesliga title race when they face Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund are once again on the verge of narrowly missing out on the Bundesliga title, it seems. The Klassiker defeat in late May shattered their hopes of sealing the league as they are now trailing leaders Bayern Munich by seven points heading into this weekend’s fixture.

The Black and Yellows have secured two back-to-back victories since. But, they were made to work hard for their narrow win over Hertha Berlin last time out. And with just four matches remaining, Lucien Favre’s men could potentially hand Bayern Munich the league title if they fail to secure a win against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Dusseldorf have been among the most unpredictable sides in the Bundesliga this season. They are yet to perform consistently since the return of the league and are dawdling at the bottom end of the league table, just three points ahead of relegation-threatened Werder Bremen.

Die Flingeraner were given a 5-0 drubbing the last time these two sides met. And given the way they have defended this season, Dusseldorf are once again expected to struggle against a Dortmund side which has scored 81 goals in the league so far. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at both these sides ahead of this important Bundesliga encounter on Saturday.

Tactics & Team News

Fortuna Dusseldorf

Fortuna Dusseldorf head coach Uwe Rosler is expected to mirror Favre’s 3-4-3 shape by retaining his own 3-5-2 formation, with two wing-backs forming the pendulating backline. Matthias Zimmermann and Erik Thommy are most likely to operate in that wing-back slots, looking to minimise Dortmund’s threat in the wider areas.

Rosler will have to deal with the absence of Oliver Fink in this fixture while club captain Adam Bodzek has been ruled out due to suspension. Fortunately for him, however, Marcel Sobottka is back, after recovering from his ankle injury and should start alongside Kevin Stoger and Valon Berisha in central midfield.

In defence, star goalkeeper Zack Steffen is still out injured, paving the way for Florian Kastenmeier to retain his place in goal. The rest of the backline is also set to have a familiar look, with Kaan Ayhan marshalling the three-man backline consisting of him, Andre Hoffmann and the experience Markus Suttner.

Finally, the Fortuna attack should be led by the offensive duo of Kenan Karaman and the club’s topscorer, Rouwen Hennings. The former Burnley striker has netted 14 goals in the Bundesliga this season, with three of them coming in his last two matches.

Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Kastenmeier; Zimmermann, Ayhan, Hoffmann, Suttner, Thommy; Stoger, Sobottka, Berisha; Hennings, Karaman

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund could be boosted by the return of Erling Haaland this weekend. The Norwegian starlet missed the last two games due to an injury he picked up against Bayern Munich. However, we expect him to start on the bench, meaning Thorgan Hazard should retain his place in the side.

Aside from Haaland, Marco Reus has also returned to training, although Saturday’s game against Fortuna Dusseldorf might come too soon for the Dortmund captain. That means both Julian Brandt and Jadon Sancho are likely to start again, with Hazard leading the line.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - JANUARY 24: Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund looks on ahead of the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Koeln at Signal Iduna Park on January 24, 2020 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Erling Haaland is fit to feature against Fortuna this weekend. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Mats Hummels, meanwhile, has returned from his suspension. It could lead to Emre Can returning to his midfield duties alongside Axel Witsel, while Thomas Delaney might have to settle for a place on the bench. Elsewhere, Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro are guaranteed starters in the wing-back slots.

In defence, Manuel Akanji and Lukasz Piszczek have performed admirably in recent weeks. They are once again set to retain their place in the side, with Hummels leading the backline and Roman Burki starting in goal.

However, as we near the final phase of the season, coach Favre might be compelled to give some youngsters the opportunity to impress, which is why the likes of Mateu Morey, Leonardo Balerdi and Tobias Raschl are all viable options ahead of this fixture.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji; Hakimi, Can, Witsel, Guerreiro; Hakimi, Hazard, Brandt

Key Stats

  • Fortuna Dusseldorf have drawn seven of their 11 games since former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler was appointed as their head coach.
  • Only Robert Lewandowski (30), Timo Werner (25) and Jadon Sancho (17) have scored more goals than Dusseldorf forward Rouwen Hennings (14) this season.
  • The relegation-threatened side have not picked up a single point in their last eight games against the current top five, conceding 29 times across those fixtures.
  • No player has had a hand in more goals this term than Sancho, the young Englishman having laid on 16 alongside the 17 he has scored himself.
  • The returning Erling Haaland has scored his 10 goals at a rate of one every 76 minutes since his winter transfer from Red Bull Salzburg.

Player to Watch

Jadon Sancho

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Sancho earlier this month and his shirtless celebration against SC Paderborn. He was booked by the referee for his celebration, which was a protest against the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, although DFB later did not sanction him in their bid to fight against racism.

Either way, his future at Dortmund is under doubt as big clubs across Europe look to take full advantage of this situation. Sancho, himself, will be keen on attracting his suitors by producing a quality performance against Fortuna Dusseldorf this weekend.

The English international has been one of the most consistent players in Europe this season, and his pace and trickery on the wide areas should cause havoc for the opposing defence.

Prediction

Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-3 Borussia Dortmund

Fortuna Dusseldorf have not been able to showcase any defensive solidity throughout the course of the campaign. And that is not a good sign when coming up against a team which boasts one of the best offensive units in Europe. Hence, we expect Borussia Dortmund to seal a comfortable 3-0 win against the minnows this weekend.

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