Borussia Dortmund v Hoffenheim
Borussia Dortmund host Hoffenheim on Friday night. Edin Terzic’s side responded well against Hertha Berlin last weekend following their collapse against Werder Bremen on MD3. BVB led 2-0 until the 89th minute before three goals from Bremen completed a sublime comeback. Last weekend, Anthony Modeste opened his account for Borussia Dortmund as they beat Hertha 1-0. Many will suggest that this isn’t a good result but this season, BVB are proving that they have the mentality to grind out results when they’re not at their best, as proven last weekend and against Bayer Leverkusen on MD1.
Mahmoud Dahoud and Karim Adeyemi face a fight to be fit but expect Terzic to operate in a 4-2-3-1 again. Salih Ozcan made his BVB debut last weekend and didn’t look out of place alongside Jude Bellingham. We can also expect Modeste to act as a focal point whilst Julian Brandt, who was a bit-part player last season, also impressed last weekend.
An area that many have been critical of is Dortmund’s finishing. They created 18 chances last weekend, and whilst not favouring a particular channel, converted just one (6% conversion) from an xG of 3.1. If they are to challenge Bayern Munich then they absolutely have to take these. Excluding the capitulation against Bremen, BVB have looked solid defensively. Nico Schlotterbeck has created an excellent understanding with Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule is returning from injury.
On equal points and goal difference after four games, Hoffenheim have started the season in good fashion, considering they missed out on European football this season. They’ve scored seven goals in their last three Bundesliga games, and their last two games against Bayer Leverkusen and Augsburg have finished with a clean sheet. TSG do look a lot more stable this season but they lost their opening game of the season to Borussia Mönchengladbach, whilst Friday’s game against BVB is arguably their biggest test of the season so far. Hoffenheim haven’t won at the Signal Iduna Park since Sept. 2020.
Although not the free-flowing attacking football that we’re used to seeing at Borussia Dortmund, they now have the ability to find a way to win games. That could prove vital this weekend. Expect Hoffenheim to cause problems this weekend but with a midfield pivot of Ozcan and Bellingham and Modeste leading the attack ahead of Marco Reus, who has one goal and two assists in four games, BVB should find a way to get three points against Hoffenheim on Friday.
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich
It’s second vs first on Saturday afternoon as leaders Bayern Munich travel to Union Berlin. Julian Nagelsmann’s side come into this game following a 1-1 draw vs Borussia Mönchengladbach. Last weekend, Sadio Mane and Co. just couldn’t find a way past Yann Sommer, who saved 19 shots. A new Bundesliga record. They were behind until Leroy Sane’s equaliser seven minutes from time. Bayern are yet to lose at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei whilst the meeting in October yielded seven goals and a MOTM performance for Thomas Muller, who created three and scored one.
With 16 goals after four games, Bayern Munich come into this top of the table clash with the Bundesliga’s best attack. Mane, Gnabry and Co. have been an absolute joy to watch. Perhaps they missed the departure of Robert Lewandowski last weekend and his ability to score a goal from nothing, but don’t let that take away from the fact Nagelsmann’s attacking quartet arguably strikes more fear into the opposing defence than last season.
Bayern created an xG of 4 against Gladbach last weekend but were denied by Sommer’s heroics. Marcus Thuram scored BMG’s only chance, yielding a 100% conversion rate. With 31 shots and 12 chances created last weekend, Jamal Musiala, Muller and Joshua Kimmich will always create chances for Bayern’s attack. It’s also worth noting that Mane had two goals ruled out last weekend. The former Liverpool forward has enjoyed an excellent start to life in Germany with five goals in six games across all competitions. Mane is beneficial to this team, bringing his teammates into play and showcasing excellent timing of runs, but also just how clinical he is inside the penalty area.
Nagelsmann favoured the right-flank last weekend with Benjamin Pavard complementing Kingsley Coman. Whether the latter starts vs Union is debatable. Regardless, expect Bayern’s front four to overwhelm Union’s back five, whilst Alphonso Davies and Pavard will press Union’s wing-backs high up the pitch. Although Union are second and have only conceded three in four games, I expect Bayern to dominate and create chances, but for Mane and Co. to take them. More so considering that Gladbach’s Sommer is far superior to Union’s Frederik Rønnow.
But although we’ll see Bayern dominate, Union did put six past Schalke last weekend. Jordan Siebatcheu and Sheraldo Becker are already proving to be quite the partnership despite the short time the duo have worked together. On the counter-attack, they could prove problematic if Pavard is caught high in the opposing half. With nine chances, six converted and an xG of 1.4 last weekend, Union are extremely clinical. They could get a goal against Bayern but the Rekordmeister are still favourites here and so they’ll need at least two, and that’s why I think this will see Over 2.5 goals.
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