THE BUNDESLIGA continues on Saturday and Chris Bland (@blandc_1996) is on-hand to preview the televised showdown between Dortmund and Hertha Berlin.
Borussia Dortmund v Hertha Berlin | Saturday 6th June 2020, 17:30 | BT Sport
Borussia Dortmund host Hertha Berlin on Saturday evening with Bruno Labbadia’s side looking to continue their fine form since the Bundesliga returned.
Unbeaten in four, including an impressive 2-2 draw against RB Leipzig, Hertha's January signings are starting to settle in the capital, and coupled with a switch in style of play under Labbadia, they’ll be full of confidence to upset the odds on Saturday.
Dortmund bounced back from their midweek disappointment against Bayern Munich with a resounding 6-1 win over bottom-side Paderborn, despite a slow start in the first half. Jadon Sancho was the star of the show, scoring a first career hat-trick, as Dortmund proved that they are still just as clinical in front of goal without star striker Erling Haaland, who wasn’t risked due to injury.
Labaddia has transformed Hertha since being appointed as head coach, and the Berlin side have looked a different prospect. He has implemented a 4-2-3-1 formation, and it has been the form of the attackers in particular that has stood out.
Spearheaded by veteran Vedad Ibisevic, his excellent hold up play has offered Berlin a focal point, allowing Matheus Cunha and Dodi Lukebakio to run beyond from wide areas, making them a threatening prospect on the break. With Cunha ruled out, Javairo Dilrosun should continue on the left wing after netting against Augsburg, and he is another player looking full of confidence under the new boss.
A good marker for how quickly the side have improved was their result and performance against Leipzig, where they were unfortunate to come away with just a point, as Cunha starred once again. The game highlighted that they are becoming a much tougher side to break down, with Leipzig’s Expected Goals (xG) output under one despite having nearly 60% of the ball, whilst their counter attacking threat cannot be overlooked.
Dilrosun to cause problems
Mats Hummels will be a huge miss at the back for Dortmund, with the veteran suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season. Emre Can is expected to replace Hummels, and this could be an area that Berlin look to target, with Dortmund’s high line at times vulnerable to the break.
Although coping well with the threat of Alphonso Davies and Serge Gnabry against Bayern, Lukasz Piszczek could be in for a tough afternoon against Dilrosun and Max Mittlestadt once again, particularly with Achraf Hakimi expected to provide the width down the right for Dortmund.
It brings me onto the first market that has caught my attention, and it is the tackles market on Piszczek. Priced at 4/5 (Coral) to have two or more tackles, the Polish defender is in direct opposition to Javairo Dilrosun, with Cunha ruled out.
As touched on above, Hakimi plays high leaving Piszczek exposed against Dilrosun, meaning he will be tasked with stopping the direct Dutch winger. He should have plenty of work on the tackles front as a result, and it is worth looking into Dilrosun’s opposition defender’s tackle counts in their recent games. The right back or right sided centre back in a back three has hit three or more in six of the last seven games, whilst four of those seven have seen the defender complete four or more.
As well as the starting line at 4/5, I would be happy to take the 2/1 (Coral) on Piszczek to win three or more challenges, particularly with this bet landing in six of the last seven starts for Dilrosun.
Goals to flow
Even if Haaland is to miss out, Sancho has had a timely return to form, helping the tactical approach that can certainly trouble the Hertha backline. The defensive work of Lukebakio and Dilrosun could be targeted, and the patient approach from Dortmund has been indicative of their style of play so far since the return.
Happy to wait for an opening, the flexibility of Julian Brandt in particular is key to the build-up, often dropping between the lines will create space for the wing backs to advance and create overloads. Raphael Guerreiro and Hakimi both benefit from this massively, and it has been no surprise to see them both score since the return.
As a result, both Lukebakio and Dilrosun will need to be switched on, but one lapse will be costly, and these overloads have been particularly prosperous in games against Wolfsburg and Schalke for Dortmund. Clinical in front of goal, Sancho
Combine this with Hertha’s recent xG and attacking threat discussed above, I can see the visitors continuing their fine form in front of goal, and should be good for at least a goal on Saturday evening. Although Cunha will be a miss, Dilrosun stepped up last game, and the attacking nature of Dortmund’s wing backs will leave them with plenty of opportunities on the break.
As a result, the 5/6 (Bet365) on Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score is very appealing, and will the potential for an open, exciting game with two of the most in-form attacks in the league, it has the makings of a thriller.