Borussia Dortmund travel to the German capital on Saturday to face Hertha Berlin as the Bundesliga title race looks set to go to the wire.
Bayern Munich have leapfrogged Dortmund into first place and must now be considered favourites to retain the league. However, the possibility still remains for Lucien Favre’s side to win their first Bundesliga since 2013.
Favre has used a very attacking 4-1-4-1 system in their previous two encounters – including the recent 3-1 victory against Stuttgart – so expect more of the same this time around. The experienced Lucasz Piszczek and forward Maximilian Philipp remain sidelined, while the impressive Axel Witsel is also expected to miss this clash.
Here’s a look at how they could lineup.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
Roman Burki (GK) – Burki’s international role as number two to Yann Sommer led him to go on ‘standby mode’ for his country in January to focus purely on his football with Dortmund. Improved performances this season have followed after a shaky two years led to some questions being asked of him.
Achraf Hakimi (RB) – On loan from Real Madrid, the Morocco international has been impressive going forward, highlighted by his three assists in the 4-0 home defeat of Atletico Madrid in the Champions League group stage. At only 20, he can improve the defensive side of his game, however.
Julian Weigl (CB) – Primarily a defensive midfielder, Weigl was tipped for stardom after his breakthrough 2015/16 season. Injuries have halted his progress, however, and Favre favours him as a centre-back, where he can use his ability on the ball to start attacks.
Manuel Akanji (CB) – Signed during last season’s January window from FC Basel for around £19m, the Swiss star has featured fairly regularly despite heavy competition from young Frenchmen Dan-Axel Zagadou and Abdou Diallo.
Abdou Diallo (LB) – Predominantly a centre back, the left-footed Diallo has been shifted to left back at times due to a combination of factors, including Piszczek’s absence, Marcel Schmelzer’s poor form, and Raphael Guerreiro’s deployment in midfield.
Jadon Sancho (RM) – The young English talent has been a revelation for Dortmund since his move from Manchester City in 2017, contributing to 18 goals in 18 starts in the league. With a skillset that combines clever passing with mazy dribbling, Sancho is arguably the best teenager in world football.
Mario Gotze (CM) – A prodigy when he first burst onto the scene as a teenager, Gotze has failed to fulfil his star potential, even despite scoring the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final for Germany. Health problems outside of his control were a key factor, however, and this season is Gotze’s best since his return to Dortmund.
Thomas Delaney (DM) – Witsel’s injury allows the Dane to hold the midfield, a big task considering how offensive his teammates are. Delaney has been a steady player for Dortmund since his arrival from Werder Bremen in the summer.
Marco Reus (AM) – Dortmund’s captain and talisman is enjoying his most injury-free season in a long while, reminding the world how prolific he can be when he gets minutes on a football pitch. With 20 goal contributions in 21 league games, Reus has been a key figure in Dortmund’s title push.
Raphael Guerreiro (LM) – Signed in 2016 from French side Lorient after starring in that summer’s Euros for Portugal, Guerreiro has proven to be a versatile and dependable player, played equally at left back, left midfield or in the centre.
Paco Alcacer (ST) – Initially a loan signing from Barcelona last summer, Dortmund have since exercised their option to buy him permanently for around £20m. With 14 goals in only 875 league minutes, the Spaniard has been one of the most efficient finishers in Europe this season.