Borussia Dortmund will look get back on track after they were held away at Koln last week. Thomas Tuchel’s men will travel to Rhein Neckar Arena to play against unbeaten Hoffenheim. Coached by 29-year old Julian Nagelsmann, Hoffenheim are one of the two unbeaten teams in Europe so far, along with star-studded Real Madrid.
The Black and Yellows will be looking to cease their travel dilemma, as the side have lost three matches away from home this season while managing just eight points in seven games. Dortmund are on a three-game winless run on the road in all competitions for the first time this season (D2, L1) – they’ve never waited longer for an away victory under Tuchel (also three between September and October 2015).
Tuchel will also seek some defensive solidity from his side as they haven’t been able to keep a clean sheet in their previous eight competitive fixtures – their longest wait for one since 2010/11 season (10). Thomas Tuchel is yet to lose in Sinsheim (W3, D3) – he’s not visited any other side as often in the top flight without suffering at least one defeat.
Der Borussen has been no doubt, boosted, by the return of their star forward Marco Reus. The German International scored four and assisted three goals since coming back from six-month injury spell on the sidelines. He has scored or assisted a goal every 40 minutes in all competitions this term – the best return among Bundesliga players who have featured for at least 90 minutes in 2016/17.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been another top player for Die schwarzgelben. The Gabonese forward has found the back of the net 15 times this season, leading the top scorer’s chart in the Bundesliga. He is on the verge of scoring his 100th competitive goal for Dortmund, currently on 99 (only five players top this).
TSG, on the other hand, are finally finding some defensive stability after a sloppy defensive start to the campaign. Julian Nagelsmann’s have gone 245 minutes without conceding and could set a new top-flight club record this weekend (currently 302; August/September 2009). Oliver Baumann has saved a higher proportion of shots on his goal than any of his top-flight counterparts.
The last three meetings between these sides in Sinsheim have finished level. TSG haven’t lost a home game against Dortmund for four years (1-3, with Mario Götze scoring the opener). Hoffenheim haven’t won any of their last seven competitive games against BVB (D3, L4 – six Bundesliga clashes, one DFB Cup tie).
Borussia Dortmund currently have a host of absentees due to injury. Midfielders Gonzalo Castro (rib), Nuri Sahin (knee) are out. While goalkeeper Roman Bürki will miss for two months for his broken hand. Young Portuguese signing Raphael Guerreiro is still out due to injury, he hasn’t featured for almost a month. Whereas, defenders Sokratis, Neven Subotic and Sven Bender will miss out the clash due to injury.
Hoffenheim, on the other hand, won’t suffer such injury crisis. Julian Nagelsmann will have the privilege of choosing from the entire squad apart from midfielders, Kerem Demirbay and Sebastian Rudy. Both the players have been extremely crucial to Die Kraichgauer’s progression this season. While, Demirbay has probably been the best Hoffenheim player this season, Rudy, the club captain has earned numerous call ups for his performance in the midfield and in defense as well.
Hoffenheim: (3-1-2-2-2 formation) Oliver Baumann; Niklas Süle, Ermin Bicakcic, Benjamin Hubner; Kevin Vogt; Pavel Kaderabek, Steven Zuber; Nadiem Amiri, Lukas Rupp; Andrej Kramaric, Sandro ‘LORD’ Wagner.
Borussia Dortmund: (4-1-4-1 formation) Roman Weidenfeller; Lukasz Piszczek, Matthias Ginter, Marc Bartra, Marcel Schmelzer; Julian Weigl; Ousmane Dembele, Mario Götze, Gonzalo Castro, Marco Reus; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 1:1 Dortmund
Anas Ali Molla
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