Borussia Dortmund are looking to continue their push for a top-four finish as they take on Union Berlin on Wednesday.
Having been in the thick of European Super League discussion this week, Borussia Dortmund are hoping to shift their focus back to the Bundesliga as they play hosts to Union Berlin on Wednesday.
The past weekend was a positive one for the Black and Yellows as their win over Werder Bremen helped them close the gap from fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt to just four points. They are trailing third-placed VfL Wolfsburg by just five points, with the Wolves set to face Dortmund on the weekend.
The Bundesliga giants, therefore, could potentially get back into the top by the end of this weekend’s round of fixtures if the results do go their way. However, in Union Berlin they face a sturdy challenge as they are highly regarded as one of the most defensively competent teams in Germany.
Die Eisernen are also heading into this game on the back of a solid of form, having stolen a point off Bayern Munich before securing a 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart on the weekend.
For Dortmund coach Edin Terzic, it will be a matter of retribution as he was dealt with his first loss as an interim coach, in the reverse fixture against Union. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this crucial match-up at the Signal Iduna Park this midweek.
Tactics & Team News
Borussia Dortmund could potentially be boosted by the return of Jadon Sancho this midweek. The Englishman, however, is unlikely to start, as Terzic looks to return to a 4-3-3 setup by recalling Emre Can in the holding midfield role.
🎙 Edin Terzic:
"Jadon Sancho started team training yesterday, and looked very good. There's a chance he'll be in the squad tomorrow. Thomas Delaney won't be ready, however." pic.twitter.com/78P3hQ4aYG
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) April 20, 2021
The German will be in charge of screening the backline but his forceful runs forward could offer the ball progression Dortmund truly need against Union. Can will be additionally supported by two excellent ball carriers in Mahmoud Dahoud and Jude Bellingham – forming the crux of the BVB midfield.
Defensively, things are likely to remain unchanged as Terzic persists with the solid central defensive combination of Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji. Mateu Morey has become the club’s number one option at right-back as well, while Raphael Guerreiro is a shoo-in, on the opposite flank.
There is a huge question mark over the involvement of Marwin Hitz, though, after disappointing performances over the past few weeks. However, we do expect the Swiss international to see out the remainder of the campaign as Dortmund’s number one ‘keeper, ahead of Roman Burki.
And finally, in the attacking unit, Giovanni Reyna is certain to be rewarded with another start following his match-winning performance against Bremen. He will be partnered by Marco Reus in the wider attacking role, just behind the main striker in Erling Haaland, whose pace and physicality could once again cause problems for the Union Berlin defenders.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hitz; Morey, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Can, Dahoud; Reyna, Haaland, Reus
Union Berlin usually play with a three-man backline that has granted them a lot of success in recent years. Their coach Urs Fischer is a proponent of a defensively stable tactical method with an emphasis on creating chances from set-pieces.
— 1. FC Union Berlin (@fcunion_en) April 19, 2021
In fact, Union are one of the most effective teams from set-pieces in the Bundesliga, with the wingback duo of Christopher Trimmel and Christopher Lenz more than capable of whipping in crosses for the three giant centre-backs in Robin Knoche, Nico Schlotterbeck and Marvin Friedrich, who is one of the most prolific defenders in the league with four goals.
While Union have a great harmony among their defenders, the midfield pairing of Robert Andrich and Grischa Promel are among the most hard-working midfielders in the league. They will once again play a key role in the club’s second line of press, creating potential turnovers that could originate into the counter-attacks.
Meanwhile, in the attacking department, Fischer will bank his hopes on the creativity of Max Kruse and Keita Endo, operating just behind the main man in Petar Musa, in the absence of the injured Taiwo Awoniyi.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Luthe; Friedrich, Knoche, Schlotterbeck; Trimmel, Andrich, Prömel, Lenz; Endo, Kruse; Musa
- Erling Haaland is joint-second in the Bundesliga scoring charts with 23 goals, and snapped a seven-game drought for Dortmund and Norway in Sunday’s game against Bremen.
- Youssoufa Moukoko became the Bundesliga’s youngest ever goalscorer in December’s reverse fixture – at 16 years and 28 days old – although Union ran out 2-1 winners. Moukoko has also netted against Freiburg and Hertha Berlin this season.
- Dortmund could miss out on UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time since 2014/15, when they finished seventh in Jürgen Klopp’s final season and reached the UEFA Europa League. The following season, under Thomas Tuchel, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the competition by Klopp’s Liverpool.
- Max Kruse is Union’s top scorer this season with 10 goals in just 17 matches, meaning he has found the back of the net once every 131 minutes. The former Germany international has put away four goals since returning from a 10-week injury layoff in late February.
- Union have won two of their three Bundesliga meetings with Dortmund, although they were thumped 5-0 on their only trip to the Signal Iduna Park in February 2020.
Player to Watch
GIO REYNA WITH A ROCKET FOR DORTMUND 🚀 pic.twitter.com/GqSZFOfPb9
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 18, 2021
Giovanni Reyna is certainly the man of the moment for Borussia Dortmund, having starred in the recent win over Werder Bremen. He looked like a completely different player, mesmerising the onlookers with his speed, skill and determination that took the opposition defence by storm.
On Wednesday, Dortmund could certainly use Reyna’s ball-carrying abilities as well as his dynamism as they look to break the shackles of a Union Berlin side that boasts one of the best defensive records in the league.
Even for Reyna himself, a strong end to the season could be critical, as he hopes to emerge as Dortmund’s desired replacement for Jadon Sancho, should he end up leaving the club in the summer.
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Union Berlin
The Borussia Dortmund defence has improved significantly when it comes to set-pieces. However, they might be tested against a sharp attacking Union Berlin, although we expect the Black and Yellows to overpower Die Eisernen, especially with Reyna, Haaland and Reus back in top form while Edin Terzic may also unleash Sancho as a potential substitute.