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Match Preview: Dortmund vs Hamburg

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Michy Batshuayi to make his home stadium debut

Hamburger SV v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

This is the match that Fox Sports gets all excited about. Despite there being other talent worth mentioning on both sides of this match, you can always rely on Alexi Lalas turning this match into an All-American Affair. “We’re going to see how Bobby Wood will fare against Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic.” Ugh. Anyway...

Borussia Dortmund will host relegation battlers Hamburg this Saturday at the Westfalonstadion. Stöger and his men will be hoping to build off a win against last place Köln, and improving the team’s performance. The reverse fixture between these two clubs ended in a solid 3-0 victory for BVB, back when the squad was doing well before things all crashed down.

Hamburg is coming off a scrappy draw vs Hannover that ended 1-1. They are doing as Hamburg does: hovering in and around the relegation zone, currently sitting in 17th place. Their best defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos will not play, as he is currently suspended after being sent off last week against Hannover. Regardless, BVB has shown this season to have many weaknesses and are certainly capable of dropping points against bad teams, so the Black and Yellows must go into this match with a winning mentality to ensure the three points when the final whistle blows.

This match will once again give Batshuayi a chance to prove himself for the club, as he is most likely to be leading the attack against Hamburg. If he gets clean, consistent service from his fellow wingers and midfielder, he should have more than enough chances to score.

Many outlets have speculated that Marco Reus could make a return to the pitch this Saturday, and while that does sound glorious, Stöger has not yet told anyone whether or not that will happen. Reus is easily my favorite player, and I’m eager to have him back, but Hamburg are notorious for playing dirty. I personally don’t think it would be wise to bring him back against them, especially late in the game where [hopefully] the situation is that we are winning and Hamburg becomes more and more desperate for goals with every second that passes. Just my thoughts.

The defense is full of holes, and the fullbacks especially will have their hands full as Hamburg will most likely deploy a 3-5-2 type of formation, relying on wingbacks to generate much of their attack. Kostic scored their only goal last week, being unmarked on a set piece. While Hamburg’s strikers aren’t really too much to fear, Dortmund is especially weak all around on set pieces, so Stöger’s defense will have to tighten up and be aggressive when those pop up in the match.

In my opinion, this match will be in Dortmund’s favor if André Schürrle can be on top of his game like last week. He and Pulisic will need to create constant attacks on the wing while the attacking midfielders and Batshuayi can hopefully poke holes in Hamburg’s back three. Luckily, this will be made easier as Papadopoulos is suspended. As I mentioned earlier, the fullbacks will have to work during the full 90 minutes, and Roman Bürki needs to perform better than he did against FC Köln.

Projected Lineups

According to the Bundesliga official website.

BVB: Bürki, Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Toljan, Kagawa, Weigl, Dahoud, Pulisic, Batshuayi, Schürrle

HSV: Mathenia, Van Drongelen, Jung, Sakai, Diekmeier, Hunt, Ekdal, Walace, Douglas Santos, Wood, Kostic

As you can see, there are no changes from last week to the squad. Personally, I hope this is what the lineup comes out to, I think this is one of our best lineups given who is available. Hamburg will, of course, have to compensate for the loss of their centerback.

Prediction

BVB 2-0 HSV

Batshuayi scores, assisted by Toljan, and Kagawa scores, assisted by Schürrle. Against all odds, Borussia Dortmund keep a clean sheet.