Fifth-placed Borussia Dortmund will look to close the gap on the top four before the end of the Hinrunde as they have a tricky game against FC Augsburg at the Signal Iduna Park. The home side are currently on a winless streak of two games and ending 2016 on a good note will be a must for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
This will be the last matchday of 2016. The scheduling difficulties have made it so that the actual halfway of the season, which is matchday 17, will be played on January. The Black and Yellows are yet to lose a single home game in 2016 in the Bundesliga and Tuchel’s men will look to improve that record against Augsburg.
FC Augsburg are known to be a Jekyll and Hyde side and can punch above their weight at times to surprise the opposition. Die Fuggerstadter have a mixed record in their last five games, with three draws, a win and a loss. Six points are all they have managed during this period, but considering the gravity of the situation right now, that is a very good record to have, especially if you are a mid table club.
In a turn of events, Augsburg also made a surprising decision to sack their manager Dirk Schuster last week. Manuel Baum has been appointed as the new head coach for the Bavarians. GM Stefan Reuter who is an ex-BVB player justified the move with “different views on how to move forward with the team”. While the team is in the lower region of the table, sitting in 12th place, this still came as a surprise move considering the fact that Augsburg was expected to battle relegation.
Borussia Dortmund, on the other hand, are having a disappointing season so far. Struggling to keep pace with the likes of Hoffenheim, Bayern and Leipzig, the Ruhr side really need an upturn in fortunes. Die Schwarzgelben drew with unbeaten Hoffenheim last week, in a pulsating 2:2 encounter. Marco Reus was handed his first red card in his Bundesliga career while Mario Götze found the back of the net for the first time after coming back to Dortmund.
Dortmund, however, have more than just one problem. The Marco Reus suspension just worsened the situation of the Black and Yellows, who are suffering a major injury crisis at the moment. Defenders Lukasz Piszczek, Sokratis and Neven Subotic will be out along with goalkeeper Roman Bürki. While midfielders Raphael Guerreiro, Nuri Sahin and Sebastian Rode are also out through injury. Sven Bender featured for the first time this season, against Hoffenheim. He will probably start once again in the heart of Dortmund defence.
As for new coach Manuel Baum, there are also some key injuries to strikers Raul Bobadilla and Alfred Finnbogason. Key winger Caiuby will also miss out because of his cartilage injury. Defender such as Callsen-Bracker and Philip Max are the other absentees for Tuesday’s game.
Borussia Dortmund: (4-2-3-1 formation) Roman Weidenfeller; Felix Passlack, Sven Bender, Marc Bartra, Marcel Schmelzer; Julian Weigl, Gonzalo Castro; Ousmane Dembele, Mario Götze, Christian Pulisic; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
FC Augsburg: (5-2-3 formation) Marvin Hitz; Paul Verhaegh, Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, Gojko Kacar, Martin Hinteregger, Konstantinos Stafylidis; Daniel Baier, Jan Moravek; Ja-Cheol Koo, Dong-Won Ki; Takashi Usami
Prediction: Dortmund 2:0 Augsburg
Anas Ali Molla
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