Borussia Dortmund head south this weekend to face TSG Hoffenheim after a devastating mid-week loss to FC St. Pauli saw them knocked out of the DFB Pokal. Hoffenheim presents a difficult task for BVB following their cup defeat, as the blue and whites have maintained a top 4 status for the majority of the season. Despite both being in the top 4, the two sides have played some of the most unpredictable football in this season’s Bundesliga, having at times excelled against tough opposition while also dropping points against the likes of Bochum. The last time the two sides faced off on matchday 3, Dortmund were victorious in a 3-2 thriller, which featured an Erling Haaland winner in extra time. In all likelihood, a similarly wild match will take place this Saturday.
Dortmund’s chances to rebound this weekend should be bolstered by the return of Mo Dahoud, who missed the match against St. Pauli with a back issue. Dahoud has been one of the best players in the side in recent weeks, and perhaps more importantly, his return will keep the rapidly aging Axel Witsel off of the pitch for at least 60 minutes. This match may also be a chance for backup striker Youssoufa Moukoko to see some Bundesliga minutes for the first time in a while, as fellow backup Steffen Tigges was left out of the squad this week.
▶️ Matchday squad:— BVB Newsblog (@bvbnewsblog) January 21, 2022
Kobel, Hitz – Akanji, Zagadou, Hummels, Pongracic, Guerreiro, Schulz, Meunier, Passlack, Witsel, Bellingham, Dahoud, Brandt, Reus, Reinier, Hazard, Wolf, Haaland, Malen, Moukoko
@RNBVB #BVB pic.twitter.com/g883X55qq6
As for Hoffenheim, they’ve endured a difficult start to the Rückrunde, losing to Union Berlin last weekend and getting knocked out of the Pokal against Freiburg on Wednesday. To make matters worse, the side will be without 10 of its first-team players as a result of injury and the African Cup of Nations. Despite this, the talismanic Andrej Kramaric will always be a threat, and he along with the speedy Ihlas Bebou will almost certainly be able to break the lines of Dortmund’s leaky defense.
I don’t Marco Rose making any changes to the side he put out against Freiburg other than the addition of Manuel Akanji. Thorgan Hazard could potentially be swapped in for Donyell Malen, but any other change would, in my opinion, be to the team's detriment. Having Dahoud back in the lineup should add some creativity to the midfield and provide a little more cover for the attackers.
If Dortmund can take advantage of the early pressure they’re often able to apply and get the first goal, I think they should be able to win against Hoffenheim. I’ll be optimistic and say that will happen this week. Final result: 3-1 Dortmund win.