After an exciting week full of international fixtures, the Bundesliga is back once again and the matchday sees two perennial contenders go head to head, as last season’s runners-up, Borussia Dortmund host Hertha Berlin in a Friday night encounter in the Bundesliga.
The departures of three crucial players have evidently hit the performances of Thomas Tuchel’s team, as they go into the fixture, already losing two games from their six Bundesliga fixtures thus far.
In the last matchday, the Black and Yellows failed to take advantage, of Bayern dropping two points as they were tactically outclassed by Roger Schmidt’s Bayer Leverkusen. Thomas Tuchel’s men failed to even knock at the Leverkusen’s door after falling behind early to Admir Mehmedi’s goal. In the final minutes, Leverkusen forward Javier Hernandez sealed the deserved victory for Die Werkself, tapping in a low cross.
Die Schwarzgelben are currently sitting third in the table, with 12 points in six games, four points off leaders Bayern and a point below their next rivals. Join top scorers in the league, Dortmund have scored 16 goals this season, with Aubameyang netting four goals. But Die Borussen have conceded far too many goals for their liking this season, with a total six goals conceded and goalkeeper Roman Bürki has kept his only clean sheet against a toothless Darmstadt side.
If Thomas Tuchel wants to see his side getting over the line, against a sturdy Hertha side, then preserving the clean sheet will be an important task for BVB.
Hertha, on the other hand, are having an impressive start to the season once again. Since the arrival of Hungarian coach Pal Dardai, Die Alte Dame have looked significantly better. Last season, the Berliners also enjoyed a good start to the season, but a poor finish to the season denied them a European spot. This season, however, Pal Dardai, would look to keep his side’s consistency through the entirety of the season.
In their last match, the old days blanked the cellar-dwelling Hamburg 2:0, a brace from Captain Vedad Ibisevic successfully led Hertha over the line against the league strugglers.
However, Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten in their last 24 home matches in the Bundesliga, a run which stretches back to April last year! The Black and Yellows should be keen to continue their absolute dominance at home, against the old ladies, who are unbeaten in five of their last six matches.
The injury list of Thomas Tuchel just keeps growing it seems. After the long-term absentees of defenders Neven Subotic, Erik Durm and Sven Bender, Gonzalo Castro and Sokratis were the newest victims of Dortmund’s saddening injury list. Castro has proved to be a great provider of goals this campaign, but suffered a tear in the abductor muscle and will be out until further notice. Whereas, the ever-present Greek centre-back Sokratis suffered a strain, which will keep him out for about two weeks.
However, Dortmund were boosted by the comeback of club captain Marco Reus. The German International is in development training and all set to make a comeback after 144 days of absence due to the Groin injury.
Hertha will miss the services of industrious midfielder Vladimir Darida, as the Czech International will miss the whole of 2016 due to injury. While new signing Ondrej Duda, remains an absentee but is nearing a return.
Borussia Dortmund: (3-4-2-1 formation): Roman Bürki; Lukasz Piszczek, Matthias Ginter, Marc Bartra; Christian Pulisic, Julian Weigl, Raphael Guerreiro, Ousmane Dembélé; Sebastian Rode, Mario Götze; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Hertha Berlin SC: (4-2-3-1 formation): Rune Jarstein; Mitchell Weiser, Sebastian Langkamp, Niklas Stark, Marvin Plattenhardt; Per Skjelbred, Fabian Lustenberger; Markus Esswein, Valentin Stocker, Genki Haraguchi; Vedad Ibisevic
Prediction: Dortmund 2:1 Berlin