Manuel Veth –
Dortmund vs Düsseldorf – Saturday, December 7, 14:30GMT/15:30CET – SIGNAL IDUNA Park, Dortmund, Germany
The relieve on Lucien Favre’s face was papable. Despite being a man down for more than 45 minutes, Borussia Dortmund managed to hold off Hertha Berlin to collect all three points in the capital.
“We all know that not everything is good again,” captain Marco Reus said. The game against Hertha, however, could be a catalyst for a better future.
For the first time, this season, the Black and Yellows showcased a strong defensive performance, ironically with a man down. “We gave everything,” Favre said after the game. “To defend with just ten men isn’t easy.”
For Favre, it was an important victory. “We want to attempt to solve the problems in the current constellation,” sporting director Michael Zorc said when asked about Favre’s future.
That future seemed very much in doubt after the 3-3 draw against Paderborn and the 3-1 defeat to Barcelona. The victory against Hertha, however, will be pointless should Dortmund stumble against Fortuna Düsseldorf this weekend. “We have to continue to work hard,” Reus said.
The good news for Dortmund is that everything remains possible this season. The Black and Yellows are fifth but just one point behind their rivals Bayern Munich, who will face leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach. In other words, a much-anticipated victory over Fortuna will either see Dortmund leapfrog Bayern or reduce the gap to the top of the league, a win-win situation.
Fortuna Düsseldorf, of course, will want to prevent Dortmund from collecting all three points. Düsseldorf head coach Funkel has never won in Dortmund. Fortuna, however, collected all three points in their 2-1 home win last season and then kept the game open on the road at the SIGNAL IDUNA Park.
“The last two games were spectacular, and we played very well,” Funkel said. “But that won’t help us in the game on Saturday.” Dortmund will be the favourites in the game against Düsseldorf on Saturday, but without their best defender Mats Hummels might be vulnerable in defence, a situation that Fortuna could make the most of on quick counter-attacks.
Düsseldorf head into the game just one point above the dropzone. Three points would be important, therefore, but unlikely against giants Dortmund.
Dortmund vs Düsseldorf – Players to look out for:
Dan-Axel Zagadou #2 – Borussia Dortmund
With Mats Hummels banned for the match, expect Dan-Axel Zagadou to start the game. Against Hertha, Zagadou started the game next to Hummels in the three-man backline. Then after Hummels was sent off, Zagadou anchored the defence and played a good game. “Dan-Axel played very well,” Zorc said after the Hertha game. An essential match for Zagadou, who has often started from the bench after making to many mistakes in his first year under Favre. The Hertha game could be an impetus for a better future for the defender in Dortmund, in particular, if he follows up that performance with a strong showing against Düsseldorf.
Rouwen Hennings #28 – Fortuna Düsseldorf
Rouwen Hennings has scored ten out of Fortuna Düsseldorf’s 16 goals this season. Involved in 62% of his clubs goals overall Hennings has been a key player for Düsseldorf. The flipside, however, is that Fortuna lack creative moments to compensate for when the striker does not find the goal. That has made it easy at times for opponents to grind Düsseldorf’s attack to a halt.
Dortmund vs Düsseldorf – Match Stats
- Borussia Dortmund have scored in every single one of their 20 home games against Fortuna Düsseldorf.
- Fortuna Düsseldorf head coach Friedhelm Funkel has never won as coach in Dortmund.
- Dortmund’s record at home against Düsseldorf: W12 D2 L6.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Dortmund vs Düsseldorf – 3-1
Dortmund vs Düsseldorf – Lineups
Bürki – Akanji, Weigl, Zagadou – Hakimi, Brandt, Witsel, Guerreiro – Reus, Hazard, Sancho
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Steffen – Zimmermann, Adams, Hoffmann, Gießelmann – Morales, Bodzek, Fink – Thommy, Hennings, Kownacki
Head Coach: Friedhelm Funkel
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.