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Bundesliga: Dortmund Can’t Afford Any More Slip-Ups!


Bundesliga: Dortmund Can’t Afford Any More Slip-Ups!

Borussia Dortmund vs Hoffenheim

After playing out a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt the last time out, Borussia Dortmund head home knowing they need all three points to re-establish a comfortable lead at the top of the Bundesliga table.

Of course, BVB are still seven points ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern Munich, so they won’t lose the top spot even if they fail to take down Hoffenheim this weekend. However, at this stage of the campaign and with such a tight race, the league leaders just can’t allow themselves to miss any more points and lose the momentum they have.

Dortmund better learn from their mistakes last year when they had a hot start but eventually faltered approaching the midseason. It’s the second half of the campaign and every win matters from here on out.

Talking Points

Dortmund, showing signs of vulnerability?

Dropping five points in five league fixtures doesn’t seem bad at first look, but considering that it’s Dortmund who have only lost six points in their first 15 games of the season, then one must wonder what’s happening.

BVB are still the team to beat, that’s for sure. Nonetheless, failing to get all three points against clubs like Fortuna Dusseldorf and Frankfurt is bound to raise some concerns.

Since suffering their first defeat of the season against Fortuna, they won three straight—highlighted by a 5-1 drubbing of Hannover 96 last month. However, Frankfurt snapped that streak with a spirited performance at home.

In their loss to Fortuna and draw with Frankfurt, their weakness was glaring: Dortmund struggle against teams that play a highly physical defensive game. Oh, and they are also vulnerable to counter-attacks, as shown by Dodi Lukebakio’s opener against them in Dusseldorf’s victory.

Teams are starting to play higher to limit Dortmund’s space and attacking opportunities, and it’s proving to be an effective method.

Dortmund have two of the best scorers in the German top flight in Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer. In fact, Reus now has 13 goals to his name, the first time in his career that he achieved such tally after only 20 rounds of matches.

Favre, though, needs to get more creative to open up the field for his strikers. They have plenty of shortcomings defensively, and they can’t continue winning if they don’t score more.

Hoffenheim struggling to turn draws into wins

While this fixture could be a big opportunity for Hoffenheim to get a much-needed away triumph, they also have their own issues to address.

The Sinsheimers have only won once in their last five, losing one and drawing the other three. Julian Nagelsmann’s team has the most stalemates in the competition with eight, and it has been an alarming trend.

Last week, their battle with Dusseldorf ended in a tie despite leading as early as 15 minutes. That has also been the case for them in their December matches versus Schalke, Wolfsburg, Bremen and Mainz—scoring first yet failing to close out properly.

Although Hoffenheim are decent offensively, their lack of go-to scorer might be the problem. Andrej Kramaric has been leading the frontline and has already scored nine league goals, but letting Mark Uth and Serge Gnabry go last summer is hurting them.

It remains to be seen how Nagelsmann will line up his squad to exploit BVB’s flaws; nevertheless, he certainly has a lot of tinkering to do if he wants to pull off one of the best Bundesliga 2019 results.

History

Hoffenheim have history on their side … well, at least, in 2018.

In their second meeting in the 2017-18 campaign, the Sinsheimer won 3-1 behind goals from Kramaric, Adam Szalai and Pavel Kaderabek. All three players are still with the team too, so they will undoubtedly be eager to look back at that performance.

On the other hand, in their first encounter this season, Hoffenheim played out a 1-1 draw. They drew first blood with a first-half goal from Joelinton before Christian Pulisic gave Dortmund a share of the spoils with an 84th-minute strike.

In hindsight, that Dortmund comeback was a sign of things to come for Hoffenheim!

Betting Tip

1X2 Draw @ 3.95

While the Bundesliga 2019 odds at SBOBET point out to a Dortmund home victory, it’s still hard to choose a winner between the two teams.

I do expect Dortmund to be aggressive on the offensive end, but their recent form (and lost to Werder Bremen in the DFB Pokal) isn’t raising my hopes up that they can easily win this one. Besides, Hoffenheim are always tough to beat.

BVB have a slight advantage, but I’m not writing off a draw here. It could also pay huge dividends!

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

 


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