Borussia Dortmund are looking to end their 2021/22 campaign on a positive note as they take on Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

The 2021/22 Bundesliga campaign is set to reach its conclusion this weekend as all of the 18 clubs lock horns on Saturday. There is no title race on offer as Bayern Munich have secured their tenth successive Bundesliga crown, meaning Borussia Dortmund will have to settle for a second-place finish this season.

With 66 points on the board and a five-point lead over third-placed Bayer Leverkusen, Dortmund’s encounter against Hertha Berlin on Saturday may appear to be a dead rubber for the hosts. However, it could be one of the vital matches of this season’s Bundesliga, especially in the context of the race for survival down at the bottom end of the table.

While Arminia Bielefeld and Greuther Furth have been officially relegated, the relegation playoff spot remains unresolved, with Hertha Berlin and VfB Stuttgart currently in contention to finish in the dreaded 16th place in the league table.

Stuttgart currently occupy that position, but despite trailing Hertha by three points heading into the final matchday, they have a considerable chance of making a lucky escape. The Swabians, after all, have a considerable advantage in goal difference, meaning if Hertha lose to Dortmund on Saturday, a win against Koln in the final matchday could be enough to guarantee safety for Stuttgart.

To Stuttgart’s misfortune, though, Dortmund have appeared extremely inconsistent against lower-ranked opponents. They had even dropped points against Hertha in the reverse fixture and it will certainly be a challenge for Marco Rose’s men to squeeze out three points in this vital contest at the Signal Iduna Park this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Marco Rose has some key decisions to make as far as his team selection is concerned. In what could be the farewell for multiple players including Erling Haaland, Axel Witsel, Dan-Axel Zagadou and possibly Manuel Akanji, we can expect them to start on this final matchday.

With Mats Hummels unavailable, Akanji and Zagaodu are more than guaranteed to start, as they look to form the three-man backline alongside Emre Can. Marwin Hitz remains the favourite to start in goal, but the Dortmund faithful will be urging Rose to give Roman Burki one final appearance before he leaves the club in the summer.

In midfield, Witsel should form the double-pivot alongside Jude Bellingham, who has recently pledged his long-term future to Dortmund. Marius Wolf and Raphael Guerreiro are tipped to retain their place as wing-backs, although Felix Passlack is another alternative.

In attack, Rose should see no reason to tinker with the offensive combination of Marco Reus, Julian Brandt and Erling Haaland, especially in the absence of Giovanni Reyna, Donyell Malen and Thorgan Hazard, who might anyway leave the club this summer. In addition to Haaland and Hazard, this will the last game for another Dortmund attacker in Reinier Jesus, whose loan spell soon comes to an end.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Hitz; Can, Akanji, Zagadou; Wolf, Bellingham, Witsel, Guerreiro; Reus, Haaland, Brandt

Hertha Berlin

Hertha Berlin are missing a few key players of their own including Lukas Klunter and Dong-jun Lee, among a few others. Felix Magath, meanwhile, will have a key decision to make with regard to his tactics.

He could opt for an attacking approach to take Dortmund by the storm whilst risking all three points. Alternatively, he could employ a defensive approach and hope to contain the opposition attack that is led by Haaland.

Defensively, the onus will be on Marc-Oliver Kempf and Dedryck Boyata to put a stop to Dortmund’s attacking endeavours, with full-backs Peter Pekarik and Marvin Plattenhardt offering the additional support. Plattenhardt, though, could be equally important going forward, due to his set-pieces deliveries.

In midfield, Hertha have a workhorse in the form of Santiago Ascacibar while Lucas Tousart should provide the grace and creativity in the middle of the park, alongside the number ten in Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Along with Boateng, Hertha have significant firepower in the attacking department, with Suat Serdar and Marco Richter offering the creative support for lone frontman Davie Selke. Myziane Maolida, Ishak Belfodil and Anton Kade are the other attacking alternatives for coach Magath.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lotka; Pekarik, Boyata, Kempf, Plattenhardt; Ascacibar, Tousart; Richter, Boateng, Serdar; Selke

Key Stats

  • Marco Reus is Borussia Dortmund’s second-highest scorer this season after Erling Haaland, with nine goals. He also has a team-leading 12 assists.
  • Borussia Dortmund’s single-season Bundesliga goals record is 84. They’re currently on 83.
  • Kevin-Prince Boateng made 10 Bundesliga appearances during a loan spell at Dortmund in 2009. He is set to play his 147th and final game in the German top flight.
  • Felix Magath has faced BVB more than he has any other club as a coach (P31, W12, D8, L8). He has won in Dortmund four times out of 15.
  • Hertha are winless on their last seven trips to Dortmund, losing five. They’ve won four of 34 overall, all by a final scoreline of 2-1.

Player to Watch

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland has become the talk of the town in Dortmund after the confirmation of his move to Manchester City in the summer. The forward has been an excellent servant for the club over the past couple of years, amassing a truly tremendous record of 85 goals in 88 competitive matches.

During his time in the Bundesliga, he has broken all kinds of records and he will be looking to add to his goalscoring record for one last time before calling an end to a flourishing spell that has seen him turn from a youth prospect to becoming one of the best forwards in world football.

In light of his service, Haaland can expect a rousing reception from the Yellow Wall, along with some of his teammates who are leaving the club including Witsel, Zagadou, Burki, Akanji and the legendary Marcel Schmelzer.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Hertha Berlin

Borussia Dortmund should not find it difficult to dominate this game as Hertha Berlin have one of the leakiest defences in the league. However, they could get startled by the opponent’s counter-attacking prowess, especially with players like Richter and Serdar attacking the BVB wing-backs.

With that in mind, we expect Dortmund to once again show their usual vulnerability in defence. But with Haaland leading the line and Brandt being in full form, there is very little reason not to expect an onslaught by Marco Rose’s men, who are the undisputed favourites to seal all three points in this crucial encounter.

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