After a sudden string of injuries and two poor results, the business end of the season is upon us earlier than we might have hoped. Borussia Dortmund will travel to Frankfurt in search of a win without Erling Haaland, who has scored or assisted 12 of the team’s 21 goals in the league. Delaney and Meunier will definitely miss out, while Can, Guerreiro and Hummels are all questionable for the game. Zagadou will be with the team, but seems unlikely to be ready for the full 90 minutes. Late breaking news from Ruhr Nachrichten suggests that Guerreiro and Akanji will be missing, while Hummels and Can travelled with the team and may play.
“Die Adler” (“The Eagles”) have struggled to ninth place so far this season, winning only two games in the league, but have also avoided defeat against all but Bayern for a 2-6-1 record. This might give the impression of a stingy defense and weak offense, but the truth is a bit messier, as shown last week in a 3-3 thriller against Union Berlin. Andre Silva and Bas Dost lead an impressive attack for Frankfurt, with ten goals between them so far. They will pose problems for whichever Dortmund defenders are fit enough to play on Saturday. Behind them, 24 year old Daichi Kamada has been pulling the strings. With five assists, he has already surpassed his career best and trails only Thomas Müller in the league.
It is behind those three that Frankfurt has appeared to struggle at times this season, and the Dortmund midfield will have to take control of this game if Favre’s team hope to earn three points. Dortmund hasn’t lost to Frankfurt in the last seven league matches, and cruised to a 4-0 victory in our last meeting. But, despite an impressive overall record in the head-to-head matchup, Dortmund’s last three trips to the Waldstadion have all ended in draws, and Frankfurt has had extra rest with no European adventures this season.
Dortmund’s media team appears to be very positive on the chances for Hummels, Can, Akanji and Guerreiro to feature, but they rarely have true insight from the coaching staff. If that happens, and they are all fit, then Dortmund should be well positioned to earn a win. If they are missing, and Dortmund is forced to play with a patchwork backline as well as an offense missing the team’s most important attacker, it could be a long day at the office for Roman Bürki, who impressed against Lazio and spoke about the upcoming match with BvB-TV. I would also expect Brandt to start over Reyna, to fully rotate the midfield group. We have another important game on Tuesday.
Emre Can will have extra motivation to make the squad for this game. A native of Frankfurt, he played in their youth system until 2009. On the other side, former Dortmund players, Sebastian Rode and Eric Durm are expected to feature for Frankfurt, although Rode is just returned from injury. In his pre-match interview, Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter predicted an exciting game and set the target for his squad as earning all three points.
What do you think? How should Dortmund line up if Akanji and Guerreiro can’t play? Who will step up and score the goals in Haaland’s absence?