Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen
After completing a spirited comeback against Freiburg last weekend, Borussia Dortmund host Werder Bremen at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday afternoon. A different type of opposition to MD2, Borussia Dortmund have enjoyed playing Werder Bremen of late, winning their last three.
Anthony Modeste made his Borussia Dortmund debut last weekend, playing the full 90 minutes whilst offering a focal point to BVB’s attack, something they missed in their opening Bundesliga game against Bayer Leverkusen. With little time to bed in, the Frenchman impressed and created a good understanding with Marco Reus. Karim Adeyemi could return, but it’s likely that Modeste will start as the No. 9 in a 4-2-3-1. Against Werder’s back three, BVB’s attacking quartet of Modeste, Reus, Donyell Malen and Adeyemi/Thorgan Hazard will cause problems.
With Youssoufa Moukoko and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Terzic also has two exciting talents at his disposal. At 1-0 down, both Moukoko and Bynoe-Gittens were introduced and BVB changed to a 4-4-2. 13 minutes after his introduction, the latter equalised before setting up the former with six minutes remaining. Fellow substitute Marius Wolf completed the comeback. Terzic commended for his substitutions after the trio completely changed the outlook of the game vs Freiburg.
And that’s something Werder Bremen will have to contend with. BVB have top class talent available and whilst Ole Werner’s Bremen work hard and never give up, they come into this game after a 94th minute equaliser vs Stuttgart, their midfield of Ilia Gruev, Jens Stage and Leonardo Bittencourt is lightweight.
Borussia Dortmund created five chances against Bayer Leverkusen (20% conversion) and nine against Freiburg (33% conversion). With Modeste, who outscored his xG last season, now being a focal point, the Frenchman could be the unlikely hero in this BVB squad in the absence of Sebastien Haller.
Like Dortmund, Werder Bremen don’t tend to favour a particular side when transitioning the ball forward. They’re also clinical in front of goal, scoring two goals against Stuttgart from an xG of 0.73. History suggests that there are goals in this game, over 2.5 scored in five of their last six meetings but whilst BVB have a 100% record, there’s still areas in which they can improve upon. That said, they should still come out of this as winners and over 1.5 goals
Bayer Leverkusen v Hoffenheim
Bottom of the table Bayer Leverkusen host Hoffenheim on Saturday afternoon in a fixture that has always produced goals. The two attack-minded teams have scored 18 goals between them in five league games dating back to December 2020.
B04 welcome back Lukas Hradecky in goal, who missed their 2-1 defeat against Augsburg after being sent off in their opening game against Borussia Dortmund. They will however be without attacking duo Amine Adli and Karim Bellarabi, both of whom are injured, but can still provide an attacking threat out wide with Moussa Diaby and Adam Hlozek. Head coach Gerardo Seoane tends to favour the flanks, the duo attacking the half-spaces, allowing Sardar Azmoun to partner Patrik Schick and Mitchell Bakker and Jeremie Frimpong to maraud forward. But this could work in Hoffenheim’s favour.
2-0 down against Bochum inside 12 minutes last weekend, Hoffenheim completed a sublime comeback with Munas Dabbur scoring a winner two minutes from time. Hoffenheim, like B04, like to operate with attacking full-backs and will look to overwhelm the opposition. Operating as the No. 8, B04 will need to keep a watchful eye on Hoffenheim’s Dennis Geiger. Against Bochum, the 24-year-old completed two key passes, recorded an assist and was excellent at recovering the ball in the opponent’s half.
Averaging 58% possession in their opening two games, Bayer Leverkusen will look to dominate the ball with Charles Aranguiz dictating play. B04 far improved last weekend against Augsburg, completing more than double their key passes vs Borussia Dortmund. They’ve been a little unlucky defensively but they must be more clinical and decisive going forward. With their attacking philosophies, both Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim are exciting to watch given the chaos that both teams create. Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramarić has scored double figures in the Bundesliga in five of his last six seasons whilst the explosive pace of Diaby and threat that Schick provides Bayer Leverkusen with a unique skillset in comparison to the European chasing teams around them from 4th to 7th. History indicates goals between these two teams and their meeting on Saturday afternoon should provide just that
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