Borussia Dortmund will hope to keep their winning run alive as they take on Arminia Bielefeld at the Schüco-Arena in gameweek six of the Bundesliga.
Borussia Dortmund have started life in the 2020/21 season in rather impressive fashion, winning four of their opening five league games, including a 3-0 humbling of Schalke in the first Revierderby of the season at Signal Iduna Park. As it stands, they sit third in the Bundesliga with 12 points, with only their goal difference keeping them astray of Bayern Munich in second place.
That said, it was not a pleasant opening day fixture of Lucien Favre in the Champions League as they were thoroughly beaten away from home 3-1 by Lazio. Some hope blossomed in the next round as Jadon Sancho, and Erling Braut Haaland scored a goal apiece to register a 2-0 victory against Zenit St. Petersburg.
Arminia Bielefeld, on the other hand, have not started things on a positive note. If anything, it has been quite the opposite. The Bielefeld outfit returned to the Bundesliga for the first time since 2008/09 and had to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the opening gameweek, but mustered a 1-1 draw thanks to Cebio Souko.
Since then, they won against Koln, but are on a three-game losing streak right now, dropping points against Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich, and most recently VfL Wolfsburg.
The last time these sides faced each other was in Dortmund where the hosts thrashed the visitors 6-0, with five different goalscorers on the scoresheet. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at this fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Favre will travel without three defenders in his matchday squad. Emre Can tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday and will be in isolation for the next two weeks. He joins Marcel Schmelzer and Dan-Axel Zagadou on the sidelines.
In the absence of Can, Favre may stick to a 4-2-3-1 which he used against Zenit St. Petersburg in midweek. Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji are expected to retain their slots in the absence of any other first-team centre-back.
Thomas Meunier will slot in at right-back, while Raphael Guerreiro will be given the same responsibility on the left. This back four will screen Roman Burki who starts between the sticks for the Black & Yellow.
17-year-old Jude Bellingham had enjoyed an excellent start to the season, and will unquestionably start in the double pivot. Favre will be forced into some contemplation for his partner in the midfield, though. However, we expect Thomas Delaney to come in that role ahead of Axel Witsel, who is going through a poor phase of form.
Jadon Sancho was arguably their best player in midweek, winning and scoring the penalty for the opener. He will be placed in the right-wing role, while Thorgan Hazard starts on left.
Marco Reus, while fit, is expected to be rested, keeping in mind a more important game against Club Brugge in midweek. Julian Brandt will take his place in the No. 10 role. No question about who leads the line, as Erling Haaland will hope to keep up his sensational form for the Dortmund outfit.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Meunier, Hummels, Akanji, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Delaney; Sancho, Brandt, Hazard; Haaland
Arminia manager Uwe Neuhaus would consider himself a luckier man than his Dortmund counterpart heading into the game. He is only missing the services of left-winger Andreas Vogslammer and has the rest of the team fit and ready to take on this massive challenge.
While Neuhaus has preferred a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-2-1-3 this season, for the most part, he will likely change it to a more flat version, as a 4-3-3 to counter with the threat posed by Julian Brandt in attacking midfield. Marcel Hartel, who is the furthest man forward from midfield, will start in the right-of-centre slot in the midfield triumvirate.
He will be joined by two more defensively solid players in the form of Manuel Prietl and Arne Maier. The latter is expected to be the last man in the centre of the park, screening the defence, while the former will play as a box-to-box midfielder.
Behind them, there is only one change expected in the backline with Anderson-Lenda Lucoqui filling in for Jacob Laursen at left-back. He will be partnered up with mainstays Mike Van der Hoorn and former Dortmund player Amos Pieper in the centre, while Nathan de Medina starts at right-back. Stefan Ortega in goal will be the final piece in the defence.
There will be no changes in the attack. Ritsu Doan, the creative force in the side, will start as the right-winger, while Sergio Cordova takes up the left flank. Captain Fabian Klos will lead the line, looking for his first goal of the campaign.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ortega; de Medina, Pieper, der Hoorn, Lucoqui; Hartel, Maier, Prietl; Doan, Klos, Cordova
- This is the teams’ first meeting since 16 May 2009, in Bielefeld’s last spell in the top flight. Dortmund won 6-0 that day.
- With a goal and an assist in his last two games, Doan is Bielefeld’s most dangerous attacking outlet.
- Bielefeld coach Neuhaus was at Dortmund for almost seven years, as assistant first-team coach between 1998 and 2004, and as head coach of the reserves in 2004/05.
- Dortmund captain Marco Reus has scored against 17 of the 18 current Bundesliga teams – except Bielefeld. He hasn’t played against them yet, though.
- Haaland is BVB’s top scorer this season with five league goals, although all of them have been scored at home.
- With just two goals conceded and four clean sheets, Dortmund statistically have the best defence in the Bundesliga at present.
Player to Watch
After his move to Manchester United fell through, everyone expected Jadon Sancho to restart life at Borussia Dortmund in tremendous fashion. It has been far from the case, though. The Englishman has played four games this season in the Bundesliga, giving two assists, and is yet to open his goal tally.
That said, the youngster seemed to spring to life against Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League in midweek, playing four key passes and creating one big opportunity. While he lost the ball countless times, we could see more intent as Dortmund chased a win after losing against Lazio. We can expect more of the same on Saturday.
Arminia Bielefeld 2-3 Borussia Dortmund
This game is going to be a display of speed and creativity, more than most Bundesliga games. That is because, firstly, Uwe Neuhaus’ side have looked defensively frail all season since coming back to the top tier. Secondly, Dortmund, while having the best defensive record in the league, are missing an important peg in Emre Can.
Finally, Thomas Munier on the right side is a dream made him heaven for Cordova, who will look to terrorize Dortmund down that flank. However, we expect the difference in quality to take the visitors through on this occasion.