Borussia Dortmund are desperately looking to get back to winning ways as they play hosts to VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund have endured a rough patch lately, with two defeats in the last two competitive matches. Their loss to RB Leipzig just before the international break was a bitter one, as it allowed Bayern Munich to extend the gap at the top to four points.
The Black and Yellows will hope that the international break has given the team some much-needed time to regroup themselves as they resume their Bundesliga campaign on Saturday. They are set to welcome VfB Stuttgart at Signal Iduna Park in what could be a must-win encounter.
Marco Rose’s men have not dropped too many points against weaker opponents this season. They also have a phenomenal record at home and are currently on a ten-game winning streak at Westfalenstadion, more than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues at the moment.
Their weekend opponent Stuttgart are dawdling at the bottom end of the table, having collected just ten points from 11 matches. Their back-to-back defeats to Arminia Bielefeld and FC Augsburg have now made them one of the relegation candidates, with head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo under intense pressure.
Stuttgart, though, do possess one of the most lethal attacks in the league and will hope to pull off an upset that could go a long way in recovering their lost confidence. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their crucial encounter in the Bundesliga this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Marco Rose has been boosted by the return of Raphael Guerreiro and Emre Can this week. Both are confirmed to be included in the matchday squad, although the same cannot be said for Mahmoud Dahoud and other injured players, including Erling Haaland and Gio Reyna.
🎙 Marco Rose:
— BVB Newsblog (@bvbnewsblog) November 19, 2021
We are expecting Guerreiro to directly return to the starting eleven, replacing Thorgan Hazard at left-back. Dortmund are set to return to a back-four, which means Thomas Meunier is also an option at right-back. Both he and Guerreiro are set to play a vital role in the club’s creative game in the final third.
Defensively, Mats Hummels is a guaranteed starter, knowing he has to sit out for the midweek game against Sporting. The veteran defender is set to be partnered with Manuel Akanji at centre-back, with Marin Pongracic settling for a place on the bench.
In midfield, Axel Witsel has a point to prove after yet another dismal display against Leipzig. With Emre Can pushing for a start and Dahoud nearing full fitness, it is time for the Belgian to step up, as he operates in the number six role.
A shift to a back four means Dortmund can once again operate with Rose’s trademark 4-1-3-2 that sees Jude Bellingham, Marco Reus and Julian Brandt occupy the three number ten positions, with Guerreiro and Meunier offering width.
The three have been in good form this season and will be tasked with the responsibility of offering the creativity for Donyell Malen and Thorgan Hazard upfront. Rose also can deploy Steffen Tigges, who provides the aerial and physical presence in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-1-3-2): Kobel; Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Witsel; Bellingham, Reus, Brandt; Hazard, Malen
VfB Stuttgart head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo is set to have Marc-Oliver Kempf and Konstantinos Mavropanos back from their respective thigh problems. Their return to the pitch could significantly strengthen the Stuttgart defence, as they gear up for a stern against the mighty Dortmund attack.
— VfB Stuttgart_int (@VfB_int) November 19, 2021
Kempf and Mavropanos are expected to return in defence to accompany Waldemar Anton, with the wing-backs Borna Sosa and ex-BVB youth player Atakan Karazor offering additional aid. It will be interesting to see how the two defend the threat of Guerreiro and Meunier while making themselves an option on the counter.
Speaking of which, Stuttgart have a crafty midfield unit. Wataru Endo is the leader of the pack, partnered by the equally hard-working figures of Philipp Forster and Orel Mangala, another ex-BVB youth player.
The three central midfielders may operate just in behind the number ten in Daniel Didavi, thus forming Stuttgart’s second line of press. It is extremely important that they all stick together while Didavi and Sosa are useful weapons for Stuttgart from set-pieces, which is a weakness for Dortmund.
Unfortunately, the Swabians are missing out on Sasa Kalajdzic, whose imposing frame could have been useful in set-pieces. Instead, they may rely on Tanguy Coulibaly, although Matarazzo also has the option of the dynamic Omar Marmoush as well as the experienced Hamadi Al Ghaddioui.
Probable Lineup (3-5-1-1): Muller; Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf; Karazor, Forster, Endo, Mangala, Sosa; Didavi; Coulibaly
- After Erling Haaland (nine), Marco Reus and Raphael Guerreiro (both three) are Dortmund’s next best for Bundesliga goals. They are two of 10 different scorers at the club so far this term.
- Borussia Dortmund have suffered two of their three 2021/22 Bundesliga defeats in matches without Erling Haaland.
- BVB have won their first six home Bundesliga matches under Rose. Seven to start a season would be a new club record.
- Defenders Marc-Oliver Kempf and Konstantinos Mavropanos have accounted for six of Stuttgart’s 15 Bundesliga goals in 2021/22.
- Stuttgart haven’t won away in the Bundesliga since beating Marco Rose’s Gladbach on the penultimate weekend of last season.
Player To Watch
"BVB has the best cards because, in addition to a good contract with an annual salary of almost five million euros, it also offers the player a clear sporting plan."
— BVB Newsblog (@bvbnewsblog) November 19, 2021
Borussia Dortmund fans have been fed positive rumours lately regarding their reported pursuit of Karim Adeyemi. The RB Salzburg forward is likely to join the club in the January transfer window, which should ring alarm bells in the ears of Donyell Malen and Thorgan Hazard, two underachievers for Dortmund this season.
Malen, in particular, has had a disastrous start to his Bundesliga career so far. He is yet to even score his maiden goal in the German top-flight, despite featuring in over 650 minutes of league football. His consistent struggles have irked a large set of BVB fans, especially at a time when Erling Haaland is out injured.
Hence, the Dutchman has a point to prove as he looks to spearhead the Dortmund attack against Stuttgart this weekend. He will be hoping to take advantage of the opposition’s leaky defence to grab his first Bundesliga goal that could do his confidence a world of good.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 VfB Stuttgart
Borussia Dortmund have been almost invincible at home under Marco Rose. It that may not change anytime soon despite their poor run lately. The impeccable support at the Signal Iduna Park has made a significant difference in their performances. Now, with Can and Guerreiro making their return from injury, we are expecting Die Schwarzgelben to secure a comfortable victory.