The Bundesliga returns with a bang on Friday night as second take on third in what will be a packed Signal Iduna Park.
Die Schwarzgelben will look to return to winning ways after a stumble in Matchday Five against Leverkusen. Their opponents, Hertha, will look to continue their bounceback after allowing a last minute goal at Frankfurt on Matchday 5 which ultimately cost them two points. BSC did come back in their match before the international break, handling Hamburger SV pretty easily in a 2-0 win.
Both teams will have been glad of the international break, coming at a time which will have enabled the two managers to pause and take stock of their current situations.
Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel may have been distracted by talk of a rift with BVB’s chief scout, Sven Mislintat, but the talented coach will be fully focused on the visit by Berlin’s best. Meanwhile Hertha’s Pál Dárdai will look to cement a four point gap should the visitors prove to be successful in Friday’s clash.
The opportunity of clear daylight between second and third is a prize both teams will look to seize. History favours the host, as BVB’s win record in this fixture is greater than their opponents, but history may count for little in this top of the table match up.
Dortmund will look to send a strong message out to the rest of the Bundelsiga and a convincing win versus Hertha may go some way to offset disappointing results against RB Leipzig and Bayer; however, with 15 goals in three games the Yellow and Blacks have the quality to prove any doubters wrong about their title credentials.
But Tuchel will be going into Friday’s contest quite short=handed. Lukasz Piszczek, Sven Bender, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Raphael Guerreiro, Andre Schurrle, Marco Reus, Erik Durm, Gonzalo Castroand Adrian Ramos won’t be ready for Friday’s match, at the very least. Moreover, injuries seem to be mounting in the central defense. Marc Bartra, himself out with injury recently, will be hopefully ready to go Friday and likely pair with Matthias Ginter in front of Roman Burki.
Hertha will have to keep a close check on Dortmund’s Aubameyang. With five goals in six matches, the Gabon international looks set to once again challenge Lewandowski for the Torjägerkanone. Stifling the inform striker may be key to Hertha winning at the Westfalenstadion for the first time in three seasons. And BvB will have a top scorer to defend themselves, as veteran striker Vedad Ibišević is joint Bundesliga top-scorer, with his five goals matching the totals of Aubameyang, Robert Lewandowski, Javier Hernandez and Anthony Modeste six matches into the season.
One can expect Dortmund to take more shots and earn more possession — so far on the season Tuchel’s side average almost twice as many shots as BSC per game and average 64% possession to the Berliner’s 44%. But that’s not the end of the story. Dortmund allow two less shots per game than Friday’s visitors, but Hertha win more aerial duels, average five more tackles per match, average eight more interceptions and Hertha gets flagged for offsides less than any other Bundesliga club while Dortmund see the offside call against them three times as often. Pal Dardai’s Berliners covered the most distance in the league last time out and are generally in the top third Bundesliga clubs in distance covered week after week. They hustle. Neither club has seen a red card, and the two have both last and second-last in seeing yellow cards issued against them.
For the Berliners this game signifies the start of a testing run of fixtures; Leverkusen, Hoffenhiem and Monchengladbach all await the Old Lady after their trip to BVB. By Matchday 11, we may have a good indication of Hertha’s staying power to challenge Dortmund as the club to take the title fight to Bayern Munich.
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