Borussia Dortmund are set to resume their Bundesliga campaign on Saturday when they play hosts to 1.FSV Mainz 05.

The Bundesliga is set to resume this weekend, with Borussia Dortmund playing hosts to 1.FSV Mainz on Saturday. In a season full of interruptions so far, the German giants have done relatively well under the tutelage of new coach Marco Rose, and will have the opportunity to go top of the table, should they pick up all three points in this encounter.

Dortmund are currently third in the Bundesliga standings, one point behind Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, with both the teams set to face each other in high stakes encounter on Sunday. It could thus be an ideal opportunity for the Black and Yellows to gain a bit of advantage, as they look to put pressure on their rivals in these early parts of the campaign.

Rose’s men are heading into this game on the back of an excellent stretch that saw them secure six wins in seven competitive matches. It makes them the undisputed favourites heading into this contest, although Mainz, under Bo Svensson, are always a difficult team to beat.

The 05-ers are currently in mid-table, with 10 points collected in seven matches. They had started the season quite well but back to back defeats to Bayer Leverkusen and Union Berlin puts them in a precarious position, especially with the in-form Borussia Monchengladbach breathing down their necks.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this crucial Bundesliga encounter at the Signal Iduna Park this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund have a few notable injury issues heading into the game. Raphael Guerreiro and Mahmoud Dahoud have already been ruled out, while Erling Haaland remains a doubt after missing out on international duty due to a knock.

Thomas Meunier is unlikely to be back fit as well, which means Marco Rose will have to make multiple adjustments in the defensive unit. A three at the back appears to be the most likely solution, with Marin Pongracic forming the central defensive partnership alongside Manuel Akanji and Mats Hummels.

At right wing-back, there might be a place in the side for Marius Wolf, whereas Nico Schulz is hoping to gain a start in the absence of Guerreiro. They will be given the attacking freedom out wide, but it won’t be surprising to see Thorgan Hazard starting in place of Schulz, to give Dortmund the added punch going forward.

In midfield, Dahoud and Giovanni Reyna are both unlikely to make the squad. As such, Dortmund are set to continue with Axel Witsel in the number six role, screening the backline while Jude Bellingham and Julian Brandt will be in charge of providing the creativity in the final third, operating as number eights.

As for the attack, Haaland is likely to start on the bench, which means the onus will be on Donyell Malen and captain Marco Reus to spearhead the frontline. Reus is set to operate in a more withdrawn role, almost featuring as the main creator for Dortmund alongside Brandt.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Kobel; Akanji, Pongracic, Hummels; Wolf, Bellingham, Witsel, Brandt, Schulz; Reus, Malen


1.FSV Mainz 05

Mainz have a few players injured as well, including Jeremiah St. Juste and Adam Szalai. Dominik Kohr is unavailable as well, joining St. Juste and Szalai in the list of absentees for the visitors.

Svensson could thus have to make a few notable changes, particularly in defence, with David Nemeth most likely to replace the injured St. Juste. The young Austrian is set to form the three-man Mainz backline alongside Moussa Niakhate and Stefan Bell, as they look to prevent the Dortmund attackers from making an impact this weekend.

In midfield, Kohr’s suspension should pave the way for Anton Stach to get a starting opportunity in the team. The 22-year-old could be a crucial outlet in the second line of press, especially when it comes to breaking up the opposition’s play in midfield while his partner Leandro Barreiro’s box to box qualities could be useful on the counter.

Not many changes are expected elsewhere as Stefan Widner and Anderson Lucoqui continue as wingbacks, offering support and width to the attackers Jonathan Burkardt, Marcus Ingvartsen and the main forward, Karim Onisiwo, whose pace makes him the number one threat for Dortmund defence this weekend.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Zentner; Nemeth, Bell, Niakhate; Widmer, Stach, Barreiro, Lucoqui; Burkardt, Ingvartsen; Onisiwo


Key Stats

  • Erling Haaland is averaging a Bundesliga goal every 64 minutes this season but is without a goal in three league appearances against Mainz.
  • Marco Reus, on the other hand, has scored 13 times against the 05ers. He only has a better record in meetings with Werder Bremen (14 goals).
  • Dortmund are the only Bundesliga team with a 100 percent home record in 2021/22. They have not lost at the Signal Iduna Park in the league since 3 April 2021 (eight matches).
  • Mainz defender Jeremiah St. Juste is the fastest player ever recorded in the Bundesliga after he was clocked at 22.6 mph in the last game against Union.
  • Mainz have conceded a joint-league-low five goals and kept a league-leading four clean sheets so far in the 2021/22 campaign so far.

Player to Watch

Donyell Malen

With Erling Haaland being a major doubt heading into this contest, the spotlight will once again be on Donyell Malen. It is apparent that Dortmund’s style of play changes considerably without the Norwegian international leading the frontline and on that note, someone like Malen becomes an essential outlet in the final third.

The Dutchman does indeed play a vital role with his runs in behind the defence as well as the willingness to take on defenders. His combination play with Reus could also prove to be important as Dortmund look to breach the Mainz backline that has shown discipline and stability under the leadership of Bo Svensson.


Borussia Dortmund 2-0 1.FSV Mainz

Borussia Dortmund are yet to keep a clean sheet in the Bundesliga this season. But that could change against a Mainz team that has struggled in recent weeks and may find it difficult to get past the opposition’s back three that offers good variety and pace. They are a little weak on set-pieces, but aside from Niakhate, Mainz don’t have a definite threat in the air.

As for the attack, Haaland is expected to feature from the bench, but on a more practical note, both Malen and Reus have shown good form during the international break while Brandt is starting to get his groove together, thus making Borussia Dortmund the undisputed favourites to seal a comfortable victory this weekend.

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