Borussia Dortmund resume their DFB Pokal campaign on Tuesday when they take on FC Ingolstadt in the second round.

After securing a 3-1 win over Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday, Borussia Dortmund will set their sights on the defence of their DFB Pokal, as they play hosts to FC Ingolstadt on Tuesday.

Marco Rose’s men will be looking to avoid an upset and continue their cup defence, though confidence isn’t exactly sky high due to the ever-growing injury list, lack of depth and the demoralising 4-0 defeat to Ajax last week. Nevertheless, the Black and Yellows are second in the Bundesliga table, just a point below toppers Bayern Munich. They are also coming on the back of a convincing 3-0 defeat to Wehen Wiesbaden in the first round.

Ingolstadt, though, will be a far trickier opposition. The visitors are currently at the rock bottom of the second division of Bundesliga. But they are trying to find a new dynamic under the leadership of the newly-appointed head coach Andre Schubert, formerly of Borussia Monchengladbach. The 50-year-old has started his FCI career with one point in three matches, but his team are certainly capable of inflicting damage on the Bundesliga giants.

Ingolstadt’s route to the DFB Pokal second round saw them defeat Erzgebirge Aue in the earlier round. Die Schanzer may not have hoped to face the defending champions in the second round, but Schubert’s men will be up for the challenge, knowing a positive result could help him mark his introduction to the Bavarian outfit.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their DFB Pokal encounter at the Signal Iduna Park this midweek.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund have a long list of injuries heading into this game, including Erling Haaland, who has been ruled out until December. He joins the likes of Mateu Morey, Thomas Meunier, Nico Schulz and Raphael Guerreiro on the sidelines.

Marco Rose has also confirmed that goalkeeper Gregor Kobel will not be available for this game while Donyell Malen had a slight infection, ruling him out of training on Monday. However, we do expect the Dutchman to start, even spearhead the BVB attack in the absence of the injured Haaland.

Unfortunately, Rose won’t have the luxury to rest Marco Reus due to the absence of Gio Reyna and Mahmoud Dahoud. As such, the German international should continue alongside Malen in the two-man BVB frontline.

Reus has the freedom to hover in and around the final third, often acting as the ball-carrier. The same applies for the two advanced midfielders in Jude Bellingham and Julian Brandt. In fact, the trio has normally operated as situational number tens behind Malen or Haaland, often forming a reverse diamond, with Axel Witsel operating as a number six.

The width should be provided by the wing-back duo of Marius Wolf and Thorgan Hazard. But given the overly attacking nature of their play, the onus will be on the three centre-backs to offer the solidity at the back and cover spaces out wide, especially if Ingolstadt try their luck with a diagonal through balls out wide.

As far as the selection is concerned, Mats Hummels could be given a breather, thus allowing Manuel Akanji and Marin Pongracic to form the three-man backline alongside the versatile Emre Can. Meanwhile, Kobel is set to be replaced by Marvin Hitz in goal, ahead of Roman Burki.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Hitz; Akanji, Pongracic, Can; Wolf, Bellingham, Witsel, Brandt, Hazard; Reus, Malen

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FC Ingolstadt

Although things haven’t been going quite well this season, Ingolstadt have no shortage of talents in their squad. Their coach Andre Schubert was also once known for his attractive attacking football during his time at Gladbach.

Unfortunately, the 50-year-old is missing out on a few attacking talents in the form of injuries. Patrick Schmidt and Caniggia Elva are ruled out while Ben Balla and on-loan Schalke midfielder Nassim Boujellab are also on the sidelines, along with centre-back Tobias Schrock.

With limited options at his disposal, Schubert could continue with the offensive combination of Stefan Kutschke and Dennis Eckert Ayensa, with the additional support of wide attackers Christian Gebauer and Filip Bilbija. Ingolstadt also has the services of former Eintracht Frankfurt prodigy Marc Stendera, should they require more creative support.

Otherwise, Die Schanzer are likely to go with the midfield combination of Merlin Rohl and Denis Linsmayer, in what could be a traditional 4-4-2. There might be one or two changes in the back four as well, including the possible return of Nils Roseler, although we are expecting Thomas Keller to continue at centre-back alongside Nico Antonitsch.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Buntic; Heinloth, Antonitsch, Keller, Gaus; Gebauer, Röhl, Linsmayer, Bilbija; Kutchske, Eckert

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Key Stats

  • FC Ingolstadt have never beaten Borussia Dortmund in competitive affair (D1, L3).
  • Jude Bellingham became the youngest goalscorer in DFB Cup history in last season’s first round, aged 17 years, two months and 16 days. It was his first of six goals in 59 competitive games for BVB. He beat Gio Reyna’s record by six days.
  • BVB won their fifth DFB Cup last season. They have not been eliminated by lower-league opposition since losing a penalty shoot-out to Kickers Offenbach in the 2010/11 second round.
  • Fabian Buntic has conceded a league-high 25 goals so far this Bundesliga 2 season, but ranks fourth for saves made (36).
  • Filip Bilbija, Kaya and Stefan Kutschke have each scored a team-leading two goals so far this season in the league.

Player to Watch

Donyell Malen

Donyell Malen’s goal against Sporting CP in the Champions League seemed like the starting point of what was supposed to be an excellent debut campaign for the former PSV starlet. However, it appears it was a minor high point in what has been a disastrous season, where the Dutchman has done very little to prove his worth.

It was evident in his performance against Bielefeld and Ajax, as the attacker offered very little to the table. Malen has looked off not just with his attacking work ethic, but also his combination play while the winger hasn’t properly managed to integrate himself in Dortmund’s style of play. His runs have been rather wayward, allowing the opposition to isolate him in no man’s land.

On Tuesday, Malen will once again have the opportunity to prove himself as he faces a much easier task against an Ingolstadt team languishing at the bottom end of the table. Failing to impress in this encounter could lead to some serious questions as the fans have already started to lose their hopes in the Dutchman.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 FC Ingolstadt

Borussia Dortmund have appeared almost unbeatable at home under the leadership of Marco Rose. The German is the first BVB coach in history to start his stint with five back-to-back Bundesliga wins at the Signal Iduna Park, which is an excellent indicator of how the return of fans has affected the team’s performance.

We are expecting more of the same dominance from this Dortmund team, especially given their lower-ranked opposition, who have struggled to get a firm grip this season. That said, the Black and Yellows will need to be cautious, especially on the counter and keeping a clean sheet will be a priority.

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