By 90Min
September 29, 2017

On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund travel to Bavaria to face Augsburg in their biggest Bundesliga test to date. 

Augsburg currently occupy fifth place in the league table, just two points behind their manager-less neighbours and pre-season Bundesliga title favourites, Bayern Munich.

Despite Dortmund's trip to the Augsburg Arena coming off the back of a 3-1 defeat to reigning European champions Real Madrid in midweek, Fuggerstädter failed to score in their last Bundesliga fixture, a 0-0 draw with newly promoted VfB Stuttgart, and they've registered just eight league goals this season, less than half of Dortmund's 19.


Here's everything you need to know about the clash on Saturday.


Classic Encounter
Alexandra Beier/GettyImages
Although a 3-1 scoreline hasn't brought much joy to Borussia Dortmund this season, travelling fans will have fond memories of their victory in Augsburg in March 2016.

The hosts got the game underway in perfect fashion, Alfred Finnbogason notching a simple opener after Brazilian winger Caiuby put the ball on a plate for the Icelandic striker. 

However, their narrow lead was cancelled out by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, in what proved to be his last season at the club, after the Armenian finished off a beautiful passing move with the outside of his left foot, with replays showing the shot took a slight deflection.

German midfielder Gonzalo Castro then also required help from a minor deflection midway through the second half to put Dortmund in front. Adrián Ramos held the ball up well to set up the former Bayer Leverkusen star and after being given acres of space to strike the ball, a deflection off Ragnar Klavan took the ball past a helpless Alex Manninger.

Dortmund's Colombian striker then sealed the scoring at his second bite of the cherry. A Moritz Leitner corner found its way to Ramos, unmarked at the back post, and after seeing a trademark header saved well by Augsburg's goalkeeper, the former Hertha Berlin striker tucked home the rebound with his weaker left foot to round off an impressive display from Thomas Tuchel's side.

Key Battle

Marc Bartra vs First-Team Football
Michael Kienzler/GettyImages
Now, we all know that the real key battle in this game is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against an Augsburg defender, but in the interest of keeping things fresh, let's have a look at the returning Marc Bartra.

Dortmund's squad is far from full strength, despite the likes of Julian Weigl and Mario Götze returning to first-team football. Jeremy Toljan's return to the Dortmund backline has helped plug a gap at left-back, but Bartra stepping back onto the pitch could be the biggest boost for Die Schwarzgelben ahead of the international break.

The former Barcelona defender was injured just 18 minutes into Dortmund's 0-0 draw with Freiburg at the start of September, missing two league games before featuring as a late substitute in their 6-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach.

On his day, Bartra is Dortmund's most vital player in defence. However, Augsburg manager Manuel Baum could identify the Spaniard as a target for Finnbogason to attack. 

The opportunity is there for the hosts to gain an early advantage against Dortmund should Bartra start sluggishly, and with Augsburg set to lineup with a very defensive formation, their front three can try and capitalise on any weakness Bartra is shows.

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Winger Marco Reus was expected to be out injured until January, but has now been ruled out until March in a blow not just for Dortmund fans, but for football supporters in general.

Borussia Dortmund are still without a trio of full-backs, club captain Marcel Schmelzer remaining on the sidelines with Erik Durm and Raphaël Guerreiro. Sebastian Rode is also missing for Dortmund and a date has not been set for the 26-year-old's return.

For Augsburg, injuries to Ja-Cheol Koo and ex-Dortmund star Moritz Leitner have left them light in midfield. Saturday's hosts are also without a trio of defensive players but most first-team regulars are all available for selection.

Predicted FC Augsburg XI: Hitz, Opare, Gouweleeuw, Hinteregger, Danso, Stafylidis, Kacar, Khedira, Heller, Caiuby, Finnbogason.

Predicted Borussia Dortmund XI: Bürki, Piszczek, Bartra, Sokratis, Toljan, Weigl, Kagawa, Dahoud, Yarmolenko, Philipp, Aubameyang.

Prediction

Adam Pretty/GettyImages

All eyes will be on Finnbogason to upset the apple cart on Saturday. The Icelandic striker already has an impressive four Bundesliga goals this season and has scored or assisted each of Augsburg's three home games. 

However, the 28-year-old has failed to find the net since his hat-trick against Köln on matchday three.

Realistically, Borussia Dortmund will walk away from this with all three points. Although their away form is significantly less impressive than their home form, six goals scored in three trips on the road is still a respectable return for Peter Bosz's side this season.

Prediction: FC Augsburg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

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