Borussia Dortmund will be looking to get back to winning ways when they play hosts to FC Augsburg on Saturday.

After falling behind in the title race, Borussia Dortmund will now shift their attention towards the Champions League places as they look to gain some positives during the second half of the campaign. They have already lost their last two league matches against Gladbach and Leverkusen, slipping to seventh in the league table.

A win against FC Augsburg on Saturday could thus be imperative as the pressure mounts on Edin Terzic. The team has seen very little improvement under the leadership of the young interim coach and with reports linking Marco Rose to a potential move to Ruhrpott, Terzic will be hoping to guide his team to a much-needed victory this weekend.

However, things could get tricky against an FC Augsburg side, who are coming on the back of a 2-1 win over Union Berlin in their last match. The win helped Heiko Herrlich’s men get out of the relegation scrap and ahead of teams like Hertha Berlin, Werder Bremen and Arminia Bielefeld.

In addition, Augsburg were also victorious when these two sides last met in the reverse fixture with goals from Felix Uduokhai and Daniel Caligiuri helping the Fuggerstadter secure a 2-0 win. It was the first loss of the campaign for Dortmund and the Black and Yellows will be desperate to avoid such a result this weekend.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over two sides ahead of this exciting contest in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Edin Terzic is still missing out on key players like Thorgan Hazard, Axel Witsel, Dan-Axel Zagadou and Thomas Meunier through long-term injuries, though he will be boosted by the return of Thomas Delaney from suspension.

The Dane should slot right back into the starting eleven, perhaps alongside Emre Can as Jude Bellingham hasn’t quite been able to maintain his consistency of late. Some more experience in the middle of the park, therefore, could make sense, although Terzic does have the option of unleashing the young Englishman if his box to box qualities are required.

No changes are expected in defence, with Mateu Morey once again deputising for the injured Meunier at right-back. Mats Hummels, Manuel Akanji and Raphael Guerreiro complete the backline, with the latter likely to play a key role in providing the creativity going forward. As for Morey, he needs to improve his game, especially with Felix Passlack pushing for a start.

Things could get much more interesting in the final third, however, as Terzic looks to choose between Julian Brandt and Giovanni Reyna. Brandt has started in the last few matches but hasn’t quite been able to produce the goods. As such, we could see Reyna operating on the left flank, looking to cause trouble to the Augsburg backline with his runs across the channel.

The American international will be aided by the two supporting creative players in Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus, with Erling Haaland spearheading the Dortmund attack. Youssoufa Moukoko and Steffen Tigges remain additional options for Terzic if required.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Morey, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Can, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Reyna; Haaland

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FC Augsburg

FC Augsburg are missing their star striker Alfred Finnbogason due to a knee injury. But they will feel grateful that Florian Niederlechner is back to his scoring form after netting a brace against Union Berlin last weekend.

He is certain to lead the FCA attack, with additional support from Andre Hahn and Marco Richter. Hahn, in particular, was a menace for the Dortmund defence in the reverse fixture and the former HSV attacker will be hoping for a similar performance this time around. Ruben Vargas provides a more pacy alternative but might not start in light of his muscle injury that kept him out of the last game.

The absence of Raphael Framberger means Daniel Caligiuri is a guaranteed starter on the right. He will form Augsburg’s second line of press alongside Iago on the opposite flank as well as the two midfielders in Carlos Greuzo and Tobias Strobl.

However, Caligiuri’s primary objective will be to exploit the spaces left behind the marauding Guerreiro on the flanks. He already has an excellent record against BVB, scoring six and assisting six in 19 meetings.

In defence, Augsburg head coach Heiko Herrlich should persist with the defensive trifecta of Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, Felix Uduokhai and former West Ham starlet Reece Oxford. Rafal Gikiewicz starts in goal, after enjoying a splendid game against his former side Union Berlin last weekend, making a number of top-class saves.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Gikiewicz; Oxford, Gouweleeuw, Uduokhai; Caligiuri, Strobl, Gruezo, Iago; Hahn, Niederlechner, Richter

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Key Stats

  • Jadon Sancho has been directly involved in six goals (two goals, four assists) in Borussia Dortmund’s last five matches. However, the tally of two goals and seven assists is his lowest return to date at this stage of any of his three full top-flight campaigns.
  • Marco Reus will make his 200th Bundesliga appearance for Borussia Dortmund if he features in this game.
  • Daniel Caligiuri is Augsburg’s top scorer this season with four goals. He has scored and assisted more goals in 19 senior meetings with Dortmund than against any other club – six of each.
  • Florian Niederlechner, who top-scored for Augsburg with 13 goals last term, ended a run of 15 league games without a goal with his brace against Union Berlin.
  • Augsburg have won two of their last four Bundesliga fixtures against Borussia Dortmund, twice as many as they did in their previous fifteen Bundesliga meetings against the Black and Yellows (D5 L9).

Player to Watch

Erling Haaland

Are we set for an Erling Haaland special on Sunday? (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Are we set for an Erling Haaland special on Saturday? (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Following a rather disappointing start to 2021 that has seen him score “just” four goals in five league matches, two of which came against Gladbach last week, it could be time for Erling Haaland to shine once again this weekend.

The Borussia Dortmund superstar had a quiet game against Leverkusen, often failing to get involved in the proceedings. Former B04 head coach Heiko Herrlich will certainly be taking note of that, so it will be an exciting challenge for the youngster to come out of his shell and operate in a more versatile role.

Haaland, considering his quality on the ball and the ability to link-up with teammates, certainly has what it takes to bypass the defensive mechanism of the opposition. And having scored 27 goals in 28 German top-flight games – a tally that started with a 20-minute hat-trick from the bench against Augsburg, the Norwegian could indeed turn out to be the main difference between these two sides.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 FC Augsburg

The one-week break between the two matches, combined with a demoralising 4-2 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach would have given Edin Terzic’s men enough time to recalculate their system and it won’t be surprising to see them come out all guns blazing in this important Bundesliga encounter.

However, the Black and Yellows could once again concede silly goals, especially from set-pieces. So we are expecting a 3-1 win for the hosts this weekend.

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