Hertha Berlin will travel to the Westfalonstadion this Saturday for Matchday 9 of the Bundesliga. Their last victory came almost exactly a month ago, which is encouraging news until you realize that it was a 2-0 win against Bayern. Their two matches after that were both draws, the first one being 0-0 against Mainz, and then a 1-1 scoreline against SC Freiburg. Borussia Dortmund is used to scoring at will, but might find it difficult to do so against Hertha, who has conceded only one goal in three games. Don’t let their position of 6th place in the Bundesliga fool you. The Old Lady is a tough nut to crack.
Fortunately for 1st place Borussia Dortmund, the squad is on a high note, coming off an excellent 4-0 victory against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League, as well as another 4-0 win against VfB Stuttgart before that. BVB fans can only hope the squad will continue to perform at this ridiculously high level when the two teams kick off tomorrow in Dortmund. Dortmund is only three points ahead of 2nd place Mönchengladbach, and four points ahead of 4th place Bayern, so every point in the Bundesliga counts. Marcel Schmelzer and Manuel Akanji are still out injured, and it’s unknown whether or not Paco Alcácer will be used against Berlin after hurting a muscle last week.
Berlin is known for the defensive game, typically employing a formation with five players on the back line. That formation can adjust to a back three if the fullbacks move forward and attack, so whoever Lucien Favre starts as Dortmund’s fullbacks and wingers is going to work overtime to contain this threat. Ondrej Duda is on fire this season with six goals to his name already, so we can expect him to make himself known to the Dortmund defense. Lastly, Vedad Ibišević is also a monster in front of goal so he will need to be pocketed as well.
One of the interesting stats I found on Bundesliga.com was that while Berlin doesn’t concede many goals, they lead the league in number of shots they have allowed on their goal (127). This may come down to the quality of their goalkeeper, it could possibly be that every Bundesliga team is horrible at shooting, they might just play so compact that it forces other teams to take long shots that have no chance of beating the keeper. Maybe it’s just dumb luck. Regardless, if Dortmund has the attacking mindset that we’ve seen this season, then we should see plenty of shots on goal, and knowing this squad’s quality, I think they have a good chance of putting a few in the back of the net.
According to Bundesliga.com:
Borussia Dortmund: Bürki, Piszczek, Diallo, Zagadou, Hakimi, Witsel, Dahoud, Sancho, Reus, Bruun Larsen, Philipp
Hertha Berlin: Jarstein, Lazaro, Stark, Rekik, Plattenhardt, Maier, Skjelbred, Kalou, Duda, Dilrosun, Ibišević
2-1 victory for Borussia Dortmund. I envision a match where Dortmund scores fairly early but then concedes immediately after. The game is locked in trench warfare with neither side giving up any ground until (probably) Alcácer gets subbed on or Jadon Sancho scores a late winner. The squad is in good spirits right now and should come out with the intention of winning, especially in front of a home crowd. Let’s beat the Old Lady!