BVB and Erling Haaland will be a tough opening match of the Rückrunde
Borussia Dortmund’s Hinrunde was characterised by highs and lows. In the Rückrunde, BVB will want to be challenging for the Bundesliga title once again. And they have made additions to their squad in January in order to accomplish this. We take a look at Borussia ahead of Saturday’s (15:30 CET) match.BVB’s last match of 2019 was emblematic of how the season has gone so far for Dortmund. In Hoffenheim, Borussia deservedly led for large swathes of the match, but couldn’t find a second goal. Instead, TSG turned it around in the final phase of the game to win 2-1, and BVB came away empty-handed.
Just as Dortmund weren’t consistent over 90 minutes, they weren’t consistent throughout the Hinrunde. Convincing wins, such as those against Augsburg (5-1), Leverkusen (4.0), Düsseldorf (5-0) and Mainz (4-0), were matches by equally poor performances against Union (1-3), Bayern (0-4) and Paderborn (3-3). In addition, Lucien Favre’s side often gave up points from winning positions.
In the Champions League, BVB made it through to the last 16, where they will face Paris St. Germain. In the Bundesliga, however, erratic form has left the Rhineland club in fourth position on 30 points – seven points behind table-toppers Leipzig. This is far too little for Dortmund, a club with championship aspirations.
In the Rückrunde, Borussia will be looking to get back on track and have reinforced their attacking options accordingly. Erling Haaland arrived in Dortmund for a €20 million fee from Salzburg, beating off various top European clubs to secure his signature. The 19-year-old Norwegian didn’t just impress in the Austrian Bundesliga (16 goals in 14 matches), but also drew attentions for his performances in the Champions League. The young star fired in eight from six matches, in a group with Liverpool, Napoli and Genk.
This addition strengthens an already impressive front line, with players like Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho. In addition, Favre now has the “type of striker that we didn’t have in the squad before,” said sporting director Michael Zorc in the pre-match press conference. With regards to Haaland potentially featuring on Saturday, Favre remained rather coy and wouldn’t give much away.
In any case, Favre will have to make do without both Thomas Delaney (rehab) and Julian Weigl, who left the club in January to join SL Benfica. “We need to be awake from the word go,” said Favre, who may have the opening day still in his mind. On matchday one of the Bundesliga, Florian Niederlechner opened the scoring after just 31 seconds.