Borussia Dortmund will aim to go top of the Bundesliga when they take on TSG Hoffenheim on Friday night.
Borussia Dortmund take on TSG Hoffenheim in the early kickoff in the Bundesliga this Friday. Both teams are just one point off the top of the table and could go top at least for a night should they pick up three points in the game.
While Dortmund head into the game as favourites, they have struggled to get the better of Hoffenheim in recent seasons. Last season’s twin wins were the club’s first double over their less illustrious opponents in Bundesliga history.
Edin Terzic’s side could make it three in a row, signifying a shift in the rivalry. The visitors have scored 11 goals in their last four visits to the Signal Iduna Park and can be a menace on their day. Dortmund have shown themselves to have a soft underbelly and have already lost once this season at home. This represents the first time since 2014/15 that the German giants have dropped points in their first two home games in the league.
Both teams employ an exciting brand of football on their day and a goal fest could be on the cards. With the game taking place a day before the others, the winner could spend a brief time on top of the Bundesliga summit. It should prove to be enough incentive for two sides who will look to put pressure on Bayern in what has in recent times been a one-horse race for the title.
The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night.
Team News & Tactics
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) September 1, 2022
Die Borussen have enjoyed a good start to the campaign, winning three of their first four games. It could have been four out of four had they not bottled a two-goal lead in stoppage time against Werder Bremen.
Terzic’s men have otherwise been exemplary and will be keen to end the night at the top of the Bundesliga standings. Dortmund finished eight points adrift of Bayern Munich in second place last season, and Die Borussen have if anything got stronger.
Dortmund cannot afford to drop cheap points, especially at home. Hoffenheim have often proven to be a banana peel in Die Borussen’s path, but the 2021-22 campaign saw them turn the tide. A win on the night will see them defeat Die Kraichgauer three times in a row for the first time in Bundesliga history.
Dortmund have some injury concerns and will not be at full strength on the night. Mahmoud Dahoud and Donyell Malen are doubts for the game while Mateu Morey and Sebastien Haller are ruled out. Karim Adeyemi is in with a shot to feature but is unlikely to be handed a starting berth.
Terzic is likely to deploy his men in a 4-4-2 freely flexible formation. Gregor Kobel will start in goal behind a back four of Raphael Guerreiro, Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck and Marius Wolf. Salih Ozcan will partner with English wonderkid Jude Bellingham in the middle of the park, and a lot of onus will be on the latter to make a difference in the middle of the park.
Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Marco Reus will start out wide and will hope to provide width on the night. Guerreiro and Wolf are also likely to overlap and get forward when possible. This will place impetus on Hummels to organise the defence and provide a solid base for the team to build attacks upon.
Anthony Modeste and Youssoufa Moukoko are likely to start up front on the night. The duo have so far done well following Erling Haaland’s summer exit but will face tougher tests in the weeks to come. A lot could depend on whether they can get stuck in and push the Hoffenheim defence back.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Kobel; Guerreiro, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Wolf; Bynoe-Gittens, Bellingham, Ozcan; Modeste, Moukoko
With three wins from four games, Hoffenheim have already punched above their weight this season. This is the club’s second-best start to a campaign in Bundesliga history, and morale will be high ahead of the visit to Signal Iduna Park.
The Stadium has been a generous hunting ground for the visitors, having found the back of the net 11 times over the last four visits. Having lost both games to Dortmund last season, Hoffenheim will be keen for normal service to resume. A win will see them occupy the lofty heights of the Bundesliga summit.
Andre Breitenreiter’s stint as manager has certainly gotten off to a promising start and could get even better. At this rate, they could place themselves in a good position to outdo their third-placed finish from 2017/18. It represents their best-ever finish in the top flight since securing promotion in 2008.
— TSG Hoffenheim EN (@tsghoffenheimEN) September 1, 2022
Die Kraichgauer will be without Benjamin Hubner and reserve keeper Philipp Pentke on the night. Ihlas Bebou will also be on the sidelines while Ermin Bicakcic lacks the fitness to take the field. It is not all bad news as Stefan Posch is back from suspension.
Breitenreiter is likely to deploy his side in a 3-4-1-2 formation that could give Dortmund a tactical challenge on the night. Oliver Baumann will start in goal and will be keen to secure his 100th clean sheet in the Bundesliga. He is likely to start the game behind a back three of Kevin Akpoguma, Kevin Vogt and Ozan Kabak.
Dennis Geiger and Grischa Promel will go up against Bellingham and Ozcan, while Angelino and Diadie Samassekou will be deployed out wide. An in-form Christoph Baumgartner will act as the visitors’ playmaker and will start behind Georginio Rutter and Andrej Kramaric.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Baumann; Akpoguma, Vogt, Kabak; Angelino, Geiger, Promel, Samassekou; Baumgartner; Rutter, Kramaric
- A win in the night will see Borussia Dortmund defeat TSG Hoffenheim thrice in a row for the first time in Bundesliga history.
- Borussia Dortmund did the double over TSG Hoffenheim last season, the only time they have ever achieved the feat in history.
- Borussia Dortmund have conceded 11 goals at home to TSG Hoffenheim since 2018. This is the most they have conceded against any opposition in that timeframe in the German top flight.
- Dropping any points on the night will see Borussia Dortmund drop points in consecutive home games in the Bundesliga for the first time since 2020.
- TSG Hoffenheim have nine points from their first four games of the season. It represents their second-best start to a Bundesliga campaign.
- Keeping a clean sheet will see TSG Hoffenheim equal their club record of three shutouts in a row in the Bundesliga.
Player to Watch
Despite losing Erling Haaland, Dortmund retains one more wonderkid in their ranks in Bellingham. The English international might be in his last season in Germany but remains a player capable of turning the tide for Terzic’s side.
Solid in possession and capable of crafting opportunities in attack, the 19-year-old is likely to be the difference maker in the middle of the pitch. Unless Hoffenheim can mark him out of the game, the advantage lies with Dortmund on the night. Bellingham is yet to hit his proper stride this season, and there is no better time than now for him to rediscover his mojo.
Borussia Dortmund 1- 1 TSG Hoffenheim
It promises to be an exciting game between two teams who are yet to hit full stride. They have, however, been able to secure favourable results and remain within touching distance of the Bundesliga summit. It is still early days in the season, but Dortmund will go into the tie as favourites. While Hoffenheim will attack the game head-on, Dortmund’s 3-2 loss to Wolfsburg will ensure they are not complacent, ensuring their readiness for Friday’s fixture.
The Hard Tackle predicts a close-fought game that will see both sides share the spoils.