Borussia Dortmund will be aiming to get back to winning ways when they take on Arminia Bielefeld at the Signal Iduna Park this weekend.

Following elimination from all cup competitions, including the UEFA Europa League, it has been a difficult start to the year for Borussia Dortmund. However, they will have the opportunity to spark the Bundesliga title race back into life when they lock horns with Arminia Bielefeld at home on Sunday.

As things currently stand, Dortmund are heading into this game trailing league leaders Bayern Munich by a whopping ten points. However, the Black and Yellows have two games in hand, meaning back to back wins could see them close the gap to just four points.

It could be quite significant given that the Ruhrpott giants are set to face Bayern Munich once more in April, which could potentially be a title-deciding encounter, should Dortmund manage to win their remaining matches.

However, their job won’t be made any easier by an Arminia Bielefeld side desperate to seal three points in their bid to escape the relegation scrap. The Blues are currently 15th in the league table, just two points clear of the direct drop zone, meaning a win could be imperative if they are to avoid being sucked into a potential battle for survival.

Arminia were demolished 3-1 in the reverse fixture, but Frank Kramer’s men will be hoping for better luck when they lock horns with Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund are not experiencing the best of times as coach Marco Rose continues to deal with a Covid outbreak that has ruled out Mats Hummels and Raphael Guerreiro. Marco Reus is ill as well, whereas Dan-Axel Zagadou, Manuel Akanji, Thomas Meunier, Steffen Tigges, Youssoufa Moukoko and Mateu Morey are injured.

Hummels, Akanji and Zagadou’s absence leaves Rose quite shorthanded in the defensive unit, and it would not be surprising to see the BVB head coach calling on youth player Soumaila Coulibaly. The youngster is likely to form a back three alongside Marin Pongracic and Emre Can.

A back three should open the opportunity for Marius Wolf to operate at right wing-back, with Julian Brandt likely to occupy the opposite flank. Given the vacuum created by Marco Reus’ absence, Thorgan Hazard is likely to spearhead the BVB attack alongside Donyell Malen this weekend.

In a rare positive for Dortmund, Erling Haaland and Giovanni Reyna are both expected to make the squad, with Rose even reportedly planning to bring on the Norwegian international for thirty minutes. However, Reyna might take some more time getting back to full fitness.

Meanwhile, in the midfield unit, Mahmoud Dahoud and Axel Witsel are sure starters, with Jude Bellingham assuming the number ten role in the absence of Reus and Moukoko.

Probable Lineup (3-2-3-2): Kobel; Can, Pongracic, Coulibaly; Witsel, Dahoud; Wolf, Bellingham, Brandt; Hazard, Malen

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Arminia Bielefeld

Arminia Bielefeld are suffering from a Covid outbreak as well, with six of their players as well as staff members, including coach Frank Kramer, sidelined for this encounter.

Nathan de Medina, Burak Ince, Joakim Nilsson, Guilherme Ramos, and former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gonzalo Castro are among the players suspected to be unavailable, leaving assistant coach Illia Gruev with a major selection dilemma this weekend.

Naturally, we can expect a plethora of changes from the side that faced Augsburg last time around. Starting in defence, Amos Pieper and Jacob Barrett Laursen could come into the side, with the latter likely to occupy the left-back role, which, in turn, could force Andres Andrade to a central defensive role.

Fortunately, there should be no changes in midfield as both Sebastian Vasiliadis and Fabian Kunze are available. They are expected to hold the fort in midfield, just behind the creative triumvirate of Patrick Wimmer, Alessandro Schopf and Masaya Okugawa.

Fabian Klos should spearhead the frontline for Arminia Bielefeld, but we are expecting a start for Janni Luca Serra, who is an ex-Dortmund youth player and will have a point to prove against his former side. The youngster also offers more movement in the final third, which could be vital in exposing the rather slow BVB defence.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ortega; Brunner, Pieper, Andrade, Laursen; Vasiliadis, Kunze; Wimmer, Schopf, Okugawa; Serra

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Key Stats

  • With 16 goals in 14 matches, Erling Haaland is averaging a goal every 72 minutes – the best goals-per-minute ratio in this season’s Bundesliga.
  • Bielefeld have more wins against Dortmund (12) than any Bundesliga club they have faced, albeit with the last coming back in March 2007.
  • Dortmund are averaging a league-leading 2.5 points per home game (P12: W10, D0, L2). They are the only team yet to draw in front of their own fans in 2021/22.
  • Masaya Okugawa has scored two of his eight goals this term against top-six clubs (RB Leipzig and Freiburg).
  • Arminia have scored 22 goals and failed to fire in nine of their 25 games – an ignominious season-low and high, respectively.

Player to Watch

Patrick Wimmer

Among all the players set to take part in this crucial Bundesliga fixture, including a Dortmund side currently brimming with talent, it is Arminia’s Patrick Wimmer who might attract the spotlight.

The explosive attacker from Austria has been one of the rising stars in the Bundesliga this season, showcasing immense technique, skill and ability to dribble past players with ease. He also has the pace to trouble opposition defences, with many followers of the German top-flight even dubbing him the “Bundesliga Grealish”.

Wimmer’s trickery and pace on the flanks could be useful for Arminia, given how fragile Dortmund have looked this season. And with their first-choice left-back Guerreiro ruled out, it will be an excellent opportunity for the Austrian to make a name for himself this weekend.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Arminia Bielefeld

Borussia Dortmund wouldn’t feel confident of their chances of overcoming Arminia Bielefeld, given their vast number of absentees. The recent eliminations from the DFB Pokal and the Europa League have also left them low on morale. However, Bayern Munich’s recent results could serve as inspiration for the Ruhrpott giants, and with the prospect of Haaland and Reyna soon returning to action, there might yet be belief left in the BVB camp.

On the flip side, Arminia are missing six crucial players and their coach due to Covid heading into this encounter. Considering BVB’s imperious record at home this season, we are expecting a rather comfortable win for Die Schwarzgelben this weekend.

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