14:30 BST, Saturday 28th October, HDI Arena (Hannover, Germany)
Hannover, who host Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, have had a mixed week of results. Coming from behind to secure all three points in Augsburg in their last Bundesliga outing, they then failed to progress in the DFB Pokal as they fell to Lower Saxony rivals Wolfsburg.
League leaders Dortmund blew a two-goal lead against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga last weekend but they soon put that disappointment aside when they hammered 3.Liga side Magdeburg 5-0 in the Pokal.
With Bayern Munich level on points with Dortmund at the top of the table, BVB need to return to winning ways this matchday. Hannover, on the other hand, can remain inside the top half of the standings if they cause an upset.
Last Time Out
Wolfsburg 1-0 Hannover (DFB Pokal)
Hannover made the short journey to the home of Volkswagen when they played Wolfsburg in the second round of the DFB Pokal this week. Martin Harnik came close for the away team early on but his shot failed to trouble Koen Casteels. Despite their early showing, Hannover quickly ran out of ideas as Wolfsburg dominated the encounter, Maximilian Arnold coming close just before the half-time whistle.
Wolfsburg would eventually take the lead in the second half when Felix Uduokhai ruined Michael Esser’s Hannover debut by scoring past the 29-year-old shot-stopper. A poor outing from Hannover leaves them out of the cup.
Magdeburg 0-5 Borussia Dortmund (DFB Pokal)
Borussia Dortmund looked to put behind their poor showing in Frankfurt last weekend as they played the second best 3.Liga side Magdeburg. It took Dortmund just before the halfway point of the game to break down a resilient Magdeburg defence with Gonzalo Castro opened the scoring. The goal opened the floodgates for Dortmund and they were rampant in the second half.
After the break, Alexander Isak scored his first goal in the Pokal, before Andriy Yarmolenko made it three from the spot. Not content to be left out, Marc Bartra then headed home an excellent cross from Shinji Kagawa. The Japanese midfielder would get in on the act when he finished Maximilian Philipp’s ball sending Dortmund comfortably into the next round.
André Breitenreiter gave plenty of opportunities to fringe players in midweek but expect to see a familiar lineup against Borussia Dortmund. Matthias Ostrzolek, Pirmin Schwegler and Iver Fossum were left out of the squad for the clash with Wolfsburg but they are likely to return on Saturday. Julian Korb also returns after being left on the bench for the Pokal fixture.
Borussia Dortmund Lineup
Peter Bosz has injury concerns ahead of the clash with Hannover and it’s unlikely we will see the Dutch manager take any chances. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had a muscle complaint recently and, not making the trip to Magdeburg, is unlikely to play on Saturday. Jeremy Toljan comes into the lineup for Marcel Schmelzer whilst Marc Bartra moves back to centre half. Gonzalo Castro will start with Mahmoud Dahoud picking up an injury in midweek.
Key Battle: Marko Bakalorz (Hannover) vs Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund)
Marko Bakalorz has a tough test on Saturday as he prepares to face Shinji Kagawa. The 28-year-old midfielder was on the books at Borussia Dortmund for four seasons where, despite not appearing for the first team, he made 84 appearances for Borussia Dortmund II. Bakalorz will look to showcase his abilities on Saturday, displaying the talent that Dortmund gave up when they allowed him to leave at the end of the 2013/14 season.
Shinji Kagawa has been impressive this season and, under Peter Bosz, we have seen some vintage performances from the Japanese International. The 28-year-old Kobe native has made six appearances in the Bundesliga which has seen him score twice. Kagawa doesn’t light up the stat sheet, whether its passes completed or duels won But it’s the intangibles that the midfielder provides that makes him a regular in the Dortmund system.
Can Isak shoulder the load?
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unlikely to play in Hannover, the scoring load will be shouldered by 18-year-old Swedish talent Alexander Isak. Isak has seen little action, only playing 5 minutes in the Bundesliga whilst making cameo appearances in the Champions League against Apoel and in the cup against Rielasingen. But against Magdeburg, Isak showed his quality, scoring his first goal for the club in the process. Can he repeat the feat against a higher quality opponent?
Keep it simple
Hannover will need to keep it simple if they are to achieve anything from this clash with Borussia Dortmund. Andre Breitenreiter’s side tends to apply a high press at home but against Borussia Dortmund it will be unlikely that they attempt this. Instead, expect Hannover to attempt to catch Dortmund on the counter. With chances likely to be kept to a minimum, though, they will need to take them when they arise. Simplicity will be the key for Hannover.
Prediction: Hannover 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
Hannover face an uphill task coming up against Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund will be wary of a side who will be looking to test themselves against the best in the Bundesliga. It should be an interesting contest. However, you can’t help but feel that Dortmund will be too strong for Hannover on Matchday 10.
Can Hannover win their second consecutive contest or will Borussia Dortmund end their two-game winless run in the Bundesliga? Let us know in the comments section below
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