Borussia Dortmund aim to kickstart 2023 with a win when they face an out-of-form Augsburg at Signal Iduna Park.

German giants Borussia Dortmund will kick off their post-winter Bundesliga campaign when Augsburg come calling to the Westfalenstadion on Sunday.

BVB have not lost their first game of a calendar year in the Bundesliga since the 1-0 loss to Schalke in 2004. Edin Terzic’s side are coming off two consecutive losses in the league and cannot afford to drop any more points.

Currently, in the sixth spot, Dortmund face an uphill task in their efforts to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League. They face a familiar foe in Augsburg, who are yet to taste any success in their last four visits to the Westfalenstadion.

Enrico Maassen’s side have now gone seven league games without a win, a run that has seen them drop to the 14th spot, a mere two points off the relegation zone. They will hope that the new year brings with it fresh fortunes and a better run of results. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they can employ.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

Despite just coming off the winter break, Borussia Dortmund have several injuries to contend with ahead of the game against Augsburg. Terzic will be without Thomas Meunier and Mateu Morey, both of whom are nursing knocks.

Abdoulaye Kamara is also likely to miss out, while Marco Reus’s participation is in doubt owing to illness. However, it is not all bad news as Mahmoud Dahoud and Marius Wolf should both be in contention to feature.

Dortmund are likely to start the game in a 4-2-3-1 formation that will strive for balance in the midfield area. Gregor Kobel should start in goal behind the back four of debutant Julian Ryerson, Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck and Raphael Guerreiro.

Dahoud and Jude Bellingham should form the double pivot, with the latter getting forward when he can. They will provide the basis for the trio of Donyell Malen, Julian Brandt and Karim Adeyemi.

Youssoufa Moukoko, who has signed a new contract, should start the night, with a fit again Sebastien Haller coming off the bench. Haller has successfully recovered from cancer and was in top form in the club friendlies. The ability to call upon such a dangerous player once again would be a shot in the arm for Dortmund and Terzic.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Dahoud; Malen, Brandt, Reyna; Moukoko

Augsburg

The visitors require a win to break their poor streak of form. Augsburg’s recent record at the Westfalenstadion is nothing to write home about. So the visitors will need to be at their best to come away with a point or more.

Enrico Maassen will be without Mergim Berisha, who is suspended for the tie. Julian Baumgartlinger and Mads Pedersen are the latest additions to the injured/sick list that already has long-term absentees Niklas Dorsch, Tobias Strobl, Iago and Andre Hahn.

Der Fuggerstadter are likely to set up in a 4-3-3 formation that is likely to take advantage of Dortmund’s leaky defence. Rafal Gikiewicz should start in goal behind the quartet of Robert Gumny, Maximilian Bauer, Jeffrey Gouweleeuw and Felix Uduokhai.

Carlos Gruezo, Elvis Rexhbecaj and Arne Maier should form the midfield three, while Ruben Vargas, Ermedin Demirovic and Daniel Caligiuri should start up front.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Gikiewicz; Gumny, Bauer, Gouweleeuw, Uduokhai; Gruezo, Rexhbecaj, Maier; Vargas, Demirovic, Caligiuri

Key Stats

  • Borussia Dortmund have defeated Augsburg at home in their last four Bundesliga meetings. Another defeat on the night will see Augsburg lose five consecutive away games to the same opposition for the first time in the German top flight.
  • Augsburg have scored in their last 17 games against Borussia Dortmund. This is their longest streak against a single side in the Bundesliga.
  • Borussia Dortmund have not lost their opening Bundesliga game of a calendar year since the 1-0 setback to Schalke in 2004. The current run of 18 games unbeaten in the category is the longest such streak of any team in Bundesliga history.
  • Augsburg have now gone seven games without a win in the Bundesliga, the longest such streak of any side currently in the German top flight.
  • Augsburg have picked up 66 per cent of their points this season away from home.

Player to Watch

Sebastien Haller

The Ivory Coast international is yet to make his competitive debut for Dortmund following his arrival at the club last summer. Having successfully battled cancer he made a stunning return to action in the winter break, scoring a hat-trick against Basel.

The 28-year-old will hope to carry that form into this weekend and make an instant impact in front of the home fans. A serial goalscorer, Haller is someone to keep an eye on, regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Augsburg

Both teams have porous defences that inspire little confidence. Coming off rough patches of their own, Borussia Dortmund have the edge given the quality of their roster and the home support egging them on against Augsburg. While the game is likely to be hard-fought, Dortmund’s match-winners should see them over the line.

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