Borussia Dortmund are set to resume their campaign as they lock horns with RB Leipzig at the Signal Iduna Park this weekend.

Borussia Dortmund’s 1-1 draw with 1. FC Koln just before the international break served as a major dent to their title hopes. But the Ruhrpott giants will keep on fighting as they welcome RB Leipzig at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

The hosts have their second-place virtually guaranteed, and they could close the gap to Bayern to just three points this weekend, knowing the Bavarians are up against a tricky opponent in fifth-placed SC Freiburg. However, it is Dortmund who will be under pressure to perform, having been criticised for their lack of consistency throughout the season.

Things won’t be made easier by a Leipzig side currently enjoying a swift revival under new coach Domenico Tedesco. The former Schalke manager has lost only twice since taking over from Jesse Marsch, winning eight in the process. Leipzig’s impressive performances under his tutelage have helped the East German outfit to emerge as one of the contenders for a top-four finish.

Leipzig are currently fourth in the league table, with 45 points on the board. However, with Freiburg and Hoffenheim breathing down their necks, Tedesco’s men cannot afford a mishap and will need to replicate their performance in the Hinspiel, when Leipzig had snatched a 2-1 victory over Dortmund.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund are likely to have Nico Schulz and Felix Passlack out injured, joining Thomas Meunier, Youssoufa Moukoko and Mateu Morey on the team’s list of absentees. Erling Haaland was doubt as well, but the Norwegian is likely to recover in time to feature against Leipzig this weekend.

Marco Rose, though, may have to deal with another absentee in the form of Giovanni Reyna. The American international is set to travel back from across the Atlantic, and it will be difficult for him to get back to full fitness. Fortunately for BVB, Marco Reus is back in contention after a spell on the sidelines.

The German international should occupy the number ten role, with Donyell Malen and Marius Wolf operating out wide, complementing Haaland in the number nine position.

In midfield, Mahmoud Dahoud is back in contention after serving a suspension against Koln. He could form the double-pivot alongside Jude Bellingham, though Rose also has the option to deploy Axel Witsel.

Defensively, Emre Can could be asked to operate at right-back in light of Meunier, Morey and Passlack’s absence. Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji should form the central defensive partnership, with Raphael Guerreiro operating at left-back.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kobel; Can, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Dahoud; Wolf, Reus, Malen; Haaland

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RB Leipzig

RB Leipzig’s biggest absentee heading into this encounter is Amadou Haidara. Striker Yussuf Poulsen is not available as well, although that is unlikely to be consequential in Domenico Tedesco’s plans.

Andre Silva should continue to spearhead the frontline, with assistance from two gifted playmakers in Dani Olmo and Christopher Nknuku. Dominik Szoboszlai is another option, should Tedesco opt for more directness in the final third.

As far as the midfield is concerned, former Dortmund star Kevin Kampl is set to play a vital role in controlling the tempo of the game. The combined aggression from him and Konrad Laimer could go a long way in stifling Dortmund’s progression in the middle of the park.

The wing-backs Angelino and Benjamin Henrichs will be equally critical in the second line of press. However, their main objective will be to offer width going forward and take advantage of BVB’s vulnerability out wide.

Defensively, Leipzig have a strong base, thanks to the back three of Josko Gvardiol, Mohamed Simakan and the experienced Willi Orban, with Peter Gulacsi standing in goal.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Gulacsi; Simakan, Orban, Gvardiol; Henrichs, Laimer, Kampl, Angelino; Olmo, Nkunku; Silva

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Key Stats

  • Erling Haaland has scored braces in each of his three competitive meetings with Leipzig to date.
  • Marco Reus is poised to make his 350th appearance for Dortmund. He has registered 153 goals and 108 assists across his first 349.
  • Only Bayern Munich have picked up more points at home this season (34) than Dortmund (33).
  • Since opening his account for the Bundesliga season on Matchday 6, Christopher Nkunku has only failed to score, assist or both – as he did in the reverse fixture – in seven of 22 games.
  • Leipzig failed to win away from home in the Bundesliga under Jesse Marsch but have lost just one of six on the road – to Bayern – since Domenico Tedesco came in.

Player to Watch

Marco Reus

Marco Reus in training. (Photo by Marco Verch/Flickr)

Marco Reus in training. (Photo by Marco Verch/Flickr)

Marco Reus’ return to the pitch is going to be critical for a Dortmund team that has lacked creativity in recent games. Despite the results, Die Schwarzgelben have lacked the usual craft and guile in the final third. That is where Reus comes into the fray. His ability to play quick one-twos and make useful runs in the attacking third does play a key role in opening up spaces for his teammates.

He is also capable of producing the killer final ball to release someone like Erling Haaland or Donyell Malen in behind the backline. Perhaps most importantly, it is his leadership that drives the team. And playing behind a packed Westfalenstadion, Reus could indeed become the difference-maker in this Bundesliga outing.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmunund 2-0 RB Leipzig

Given RB Leipzig’s form, they could fancy their chances of snatching all three points in this vital contest. However, the hosts have a stellar record at home and will be playing in front of a packed stadium for the first time in a while. It could make a significant difference, especially knowing a majority of the BVB stars, including Jude Bellingham, have not even played behind a packed crowd since joining the club.

Hence, we are expecting a relatively comfortable win for a Dortmund side, with Erling Haaland and Marco Reus likely to star against the Leipzig defence that could lack the quality to deal with the BVB attacking duo.

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