Borussia Dortmund are looking to get back to winning ways as they lock horns with SC Freiburg at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
It has been a frustrating start to the season for Borussia Dortmund so far. The Black and Yellows lost their first away game of the campaign to FC Augsburg before slumping to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the DFL Supercup in midweek.
Such run of form has put Lucien Favre under pressure and the Swiss tactician will be desperate to secure a victory when his side host FC Freiburg on Saturday.
Dortmund were already lucky last weekend to get away with their 2-0 defeat to Augsburg as Bayern Munich were rocked by TSG Hoffenheim. However, the Bundesliga giants won’t be expecting a similar result this time around, meaning failing to secure a victory on Saturday could allow their Bavarian rivals to get an early headstart.
Freiburg, however, will be no walk in the park for Favre’s men. The club from the black forest have enjoyed an inspired start to the campaign, opening their account with a 3-2 win over VfB Stuttgart before holding out VfL Wolfsburg to a 1-1 draw last weekend.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this highly anticipated fixture in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Tactics & Team News
The biggest talking point of this weekend’s fixture is whether or not Jadon Sancho will feature, after being surprisingly left out of the team against Bayern Munich in midweek.
Well, MUFC didn’t make another attempt on Wednesday or Thursday. Sancho is back in training, will be in the squad against Freiburg. https://t.co/lpMJC59mfl
— Constantin Eckner (@cc_eckner) October 2, 2020
Fortunately for the Dortmund, the Englishman is back in training and will be included in the squad for Freiburg. It remains unclear whether he will start though and we do expect Giovanni Reyna to get the nod ahead of the winger while Marco Reus should retain his place in the starting lineup. These two will look to provide supply to central striker Erling Haaland.
In midfield, Favre rested Axel Witsel in midweek so we can expect the Belgian to make his return. He should form the double-pivot, alongside Jude Bellingham, although the Swiss also has the option of Julian Brandt as well as Thomas Delaney.
Dortmund are facing an injury crisis in the fullback department with Thorgan Hazard, Mateu Morey and Marcel Schmelzer. Nico Schulz featured against Bayern in midweek but Raphael Guerreiro is a guaranteed starter at left wingback, with Thomas Meunier operating on the opposite flank.
Lukasz Piszczek has returned to training and might be in contention tomorrow. However, Favre may persist with the three-man backline consisting of Mats Hummels, Manuel Akanji and Emre Can with Roman Burki returning in goal.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Can, Hummels, Akanji; Meunier, Bellingham, Witsel, Guerreiro; Reus, Haaland, Reyna.
SC Freiburg coach Christian Streich is more than expected to persist with his tried and tested 4-4-2 formation. The two banks of four will be important in containing Borussia Dortmund with their compact, systemic pressing.
— SC Freiburg (@scfreiburg) October 2, 2020
Streich has two options in central midfield in Baptiste Santamaria and Woo-yeong Jeong but given the quality of the opponent, a more defensive Santamaria should be preferred alongside Nicolas Hofler in the double-pivot.
These two will be additionally supported by the wide midfielders in Roland Sallai and Vincenzo Grifo, although their primary job will be to provide that creative essence in the final third. Streich has other options as well including Chang-hoon Kwon and Jeong.
Nevertheless, there shouldn’t be any changes in the attack, with Nils Peterson and Lucas Holer spearheading the SC Freiburg offensive unit. Youngster Ermedin Demirovic could be utilised as a second-half substitute.
And finally, in defence, Streich has no reason to make any changes to drift away from his formula of starting Jonathan Schmid, Philipp Lienhart, Dominique Heintz and captain Christian Gunter, with Florian Muller also retaining his place in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Muller; Schmid, Lienhart, Heintz, Gunter; Sallai, Hofler, Santamaria, Grifo; Holer, Petersen.
- Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten in their last 18 Bundesliga matches against SC Freiburg.
- Erling Haaland has scored 15 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances to date, at a rate of one every 83 minutes.
- SC Freiburg currently have four points on the board, but have never had more than six after three matches.
- Petersen has had a direct hand in three of Freiburg’s four goals so far this season (scoring two, assisting one).
- Twelve of Streich’s 99 defeats as a Bundesliga head coach have come from 15 meetings with Borussia Dortmund.
Player to Watch
Following a disappointing result against Bayern Munich and indeed against FC Augsburg. Erling Haaland will be desperate to score some goals this weekend.
The Norwegian’s sharp sense of positioning, combined with his physical prowess could make it difficult for players like Lienhart this Saturday. Not only that, but the youngster also has a good understanding with the likes of Marco Reus and Giovanni Reyna that could be crucial as Borussia Dortmund look to break the shackles of the Freiburg backline.
Haaland has scored two goals in the Bundesliga this season and needs to make some ground if he is to compete with Robert Lewandowski and Andrej Kramaric for the Torjagerkanone this season.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 SC Freiburg
Borussia Dortmund are more than expected to dominate possession like they did last time against FC Augsburg. One could even argue that Freiburg has a better defensive shape, but it seems unlikely that they will be able to stop the Black and Yellows from getting back to winning ways, especially with the added home support.