Borussia Dortmund will aim to get back to winning ways when they welcome SpVgg Greuther Furth to Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday.

After surrendering two points by drawing with VfL Bochum last weekend, Borussia Dortmund are running the risk of losing out on the Bundesliga title race as they take on SpVgg Greuther Furth on Wednesday.

It is a must-win encounter for the hosts, who are currently trailing league leaders Bayern Munich by six points. The lead could potentially increase to nine points should the Bavarians secure a win in their Tuesday night affair against VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Dortmund are practically out of contention to finish in the top spot during the halfway point of the campaign, a status commonly referred to as the Herbstmeister in Germany. But they will be keen on bridging the gap as much as possible in these two matches before the Bundesliga goes into a mid-season hiatus.

The Black and Yellows have failed to win their last two league matches. However, the return of Marco Rose on the touchline could serve as a potential boost for the home side, as they lock horns with Greuther Furth, who are currently sitting at the rock bottom of the Bundesliga table.

With just four points collected in 15 matches, the newly-promoted outfit is almost destined to be relegated from the Bundesliga this season. But after securing their first win of the season against Union Berlin on the weekend, they surprisingly have a better momentum coming into this game than their midweek opponents.

Although things could get considerably tougher against a Dortmund side that boasts one of the best attacks in Europe, the Greuther Furth players have the necessary work-ethic and commitment required to register arguably the biggest upset of the Bundesliga season this midweek.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund are more than likely to once again miss out on the services of Raphael Guerreiro and Donyell Malen. They are expected to join Manuel Akanji, Mateu Morey, Giovanni Reyna and Youssoufa Moukoko in the club’s list of absentees.

Guerreiro’s continued absence means Rose will have to persist with Nico Schulz at left-back. Even Dan-Axel Zagadou might retain his place at centre-back, alongside Mats Hummels, despite his poor performance against Bochum. It is largely because of Akanji’s injury, while the other alternative in Marin Pongracic has no future at the club.

On the bright side, though, Julian Brandt should return in midfield, giving Dortmund a significant boost in the creative side of things. His ability to operate in half-spaces, coupled with his technical prowess, could be useful in helping the hosts create scoring opportunities in the final third.

Brandt is likely to be partnered with Jude Bellingham and Mahmoud Dahoud, who is set to operate in a deeper role. However, Rose does have the option of deploying Emre Can in midfield, in case he requires more physique, while Axel Witsel can offer more security in possession.

With Brandt and Bellingham occupying the advanced midfield slots, Marco Reus will have the freedom to operate in the number ten slot. The unpredictable nature of his role makes it harder for the opposition to keep tabs on him, even more so with Erling Haaland lurking in the final third, with additional assistance from Thorgan Hazard.

Alternatively, though, Rose could deploy Bellingham in the number ten role, allowing Reus to spearhead the attack with Haaland. It could help Brandt in operating in advanced roles with Dahould, while Can should retain his place in the number six position. But with Dortmund likely to have the lion’s share of possession, Rose might prefer having more creativity in the team.

Probable Lineup (4-1-3-2): Kobel; Meunier, Hummels, Zagadou, Schulz; Dahoud; Bellingham, Reus, Dahoud; Hazard, Haaland

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Greuther Furth

Greuther Furth head coach Stefan Leitl has no reason to shift away from his 4-1-2-3 formation that earned his team a rare win against Union Berlin last weekend. But the young tactician may want to take a page out of Thomas Reis’ book by leaving the Dortmund full-backs alone, in the second line of press.

It essentially means that Greuther Furth may opt to man-mark Dortmund’s three midfielders in Mahmoud Dahoud, Julian Brandt and Jude Bellingham, not allowing them any space to pass in between the lines. It should block the supply line for Erling Haaland and Thorgan Hazard, forcing the Black and Yellows to rely on the services of their attacking full-backs.

But with Raphael Guerreiro and Mateu Morey both injured, the current duo of Thomas Meunier and Nico Schulz do not offer much technique or creativity in the final third. The gamble worked for Bochum on the weekend, and Furth will be hoping for a similar level of success.

In terms of personnel, the onus of covering Sascha Burchert in goal will be on the central defensive pairing of Sebastian Griesbeck and Maximilian Bauer. They are set to operate in a deep defensive line, with additional support provided by the two full-backs in Marco Meyerhofer and Jetro Willems.

Max Christiansen is another vital asset for Furth in the second line of press. He will be in charge of offering the cover for the backline, with support coming from Paul Seguin and Timothy Tillman.

As for the attack, Havard Nielsen will once again look to fight his way through the Dortmund defence while the experience of captain Branimir Hrgota could go a long way in helping the visitors to find the weak points of the opposition. Leitl may also be tempted to deploy ex-Dortmund youth player Jeremy Dudziak, who can offer thrust and pace on the counter.

Probable Lineup (4-1-2-3): Burchert; Meyerhofer, Griesbeck, Bauer, Willems; Christiansen; Seguin, Tillman; Hrgota, Abiama, Nielsen

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Key Stats

  • Jude Bellingham had not even turned 10 when a Dortmund team, including current captain Marco Reus beat Greuther Furth 3-1 at home and 6-1 away in 2012/13.
  • Borussia Dortmund are this season’s second-best home team, with 21 points from 24, 23 goals scored and 12 against.
  • Branimir Hrgota is Furth’s four-goal leading marksman after 15 matches. BVB have scored four or more in five competitive matches this season.
  • Furth’s victory at the weekend was their only fifth ever in the Bundesliga and first since 4 May 2013.
  • Prior to that win, Clover Leaves had made the worst-ever start to a Bundesliga season with just one point from 14 games and a -36 goal difference. They are now one point better off than Cologne were after 15 matchdays in 2017/18.

Player to Watch

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland. (Photo by Marco Verch)

Ready to return to scoring ways? (Photo by Marco Verch)

After a difficult afternoon against Bochum, Erling Haaland will be desperate to return to winning ways this midweek, as he looks to extend his majestic tally of 51 goals in 52 Bundesliga matches. Quite incredibly, he has more goals in the top-flight than Greuther Furth in their club’s history (34 goals in 49 games).

Not to mention, Haaland has scored four goals since returning from injury against Wolfsburg at the end of last month. He also secured a crucial assist for Julian Brandt’s late equaliser in the game against Bochum. Hence, the Norwegian remains a definite threat for the Furth defence and stopping him could be imperative if the visitors are to salvage anything from this game.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Greuther Furth

Barring an unlucky defeat to Bayern Munich earlier this month, Borussia Dortmund have been almost impregnable at home in the Bundesliga this season. Although the new regulations decreasing the maximum capacity of home fans to just 15,000 has been a major blow, Die Schwarzgelben have what it takes to come out as clear victors in this David vs Goliath encounter.

The presence of Erling Haaland, coupled with the return of Julian Brandt, in particular, may spell doom for a team that has conceded 46 goals in 15 matches this season. We are predicting them to concede four more against Dortmund this midweek.

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