By 90Min
December 15, 2017

Borussia Dortmund host Hoffenheim on Saturday evening in the Bundesliga, with the home side looking for a win that could potentially lift them to third in the table.

Dortmund grabbed their first win in nine Bundesliga matches against Mainz on Tuesday night. It was new boss Peter Stöger's first game and win as Dortmund manager. 

The Austrian set up his side in a 4-3-3, which came as a surprise, with many predicting a 4-4-2. However, BVB remained compact throughout the game and kept their first clean sheet in the league since September.

Simon Hofmann/GettyImages

Despite Dortmund's poor form over the past few months, they still remain close to the chasing pack at the top, and if results go their way on the weekend they could leapfrog RB Leipzig and claim third spot.

As for the visitors, who are just one point ahead of Dortmund, it has been an up and down season. Famous wins against Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig have been their best moments so far, but disappointing defeats to the likes of Hannover have derailed their progress.

Manager Julian Nagelsmann has done an incredible job with Hoffenheim, so much so that the German is rumoured to be the favourite to succeed Stöger next season.


Classic Encounter

Quite possibly the most dramatic game of the 2012/13 season in the Bundesliga came when these sides met on the last day of the campaign. 

Before the game, Hoffenheim found themselves in the relegation zone and needed a win at the Signal Iduna Park and other results to go their way to reach the relegation play-off.

The game got off to the worst possible start for the visitors, with striker Robert Lewandowski scoring with only six minutes on the clock. Despite Dortmund piling on the pressure, the score remained the same going into the break.

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The home side continued to dominate in the second half, and came close on many occasions. However, in the 77th minute, Dortmund defender Mats Hummels brought down Kevin Volland in the penalty area and Hoffenheim had a glimmer of hope.

Midfielder Sejad Salihovic stepped up and smashed the ball into the back of the net, and in doing so gave his side a real chance of snatching the most unlikeliest of victories.

Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

In the 82nd minute, controversy struck as goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller brought down striker Sven Schipplock in the penalty area. The Dortmund number one was shown a red card and Hoffenheim had the chance to save their season.

The home side had made all their substitutions, and defender Kevin Großgreutz had to stand between the sticks for the dying minutes. It was Salihovic who stepped up again for the penalty, knowing that the future of his club rested on his shoulders. The Serbian smashed the ball into the roof of the net, and Hoffenheim were safe as it stood.

Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

Dortmund pushed and pushed and, in the second minute of added on time, it was Lewandowski again who put the ball into the back of the net. However, the goal was disallowed for offside and to the joy of the Hoffenheim faithful they secured a relegation play-off.

It was an enthralling game to say the very least. Dortmund finished second and lost in the Champions League final to Bayern Munich, and Hoffenheim remained in the division after winning their relegation play-off against Kaiserslautern.


Key Battles

Shinji Kagawa vs Nadiem Amiri

These two players are at very different ends of their careers. The 28-year-old Shinji Kagawa has been around for what feels like quite some time now. 

The Japan international is well known for his dribbling skills and vision. A goal last time out against Mainz, Kagawa will be looking to get his name on the scoresheet again on Saturday.

Simon Hofmann/GettyImages

On the other hand, Nadiem Amiri has only been around for a short space of time, but in that time has made his mark. 

The 21-year old is touted as being one of Germany's next big stars, and this season has been given his chance. Contributing with a goal in the 4-0 win against RB Leipzig, Amiri will be looking to add to his tally against Dortmund.

This battle will be decided on who uses the ball more efficiently. Kagawa has the experience and knows what it takes in big games, but Amiri's raw talent could shine through on Saturday which could bring his side victory.

Omar Toprak vs Serge Gnabry


Omar Toprak's move from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer has not been a massive success but the Turkey international will be hoping to keep clear of injuries and form a solid relationship with centre-back partner Sokratis in the coming months.

DANIEL ROLAND/GettyImages

Bayern Munich loanee Serge Gnabry has been fantastic for Hoffenheim this season. A highlight for the Germany international was his 45 yard strike against RB Leipzig.

Toprak will be looking to keep Gnabry quiet on Saturday, as if the German is given the opportunity he will punish Dortmund.


Team News


Borussia Dortmund

No new injury concerns, with the exception of Andre Schurrle, who is a doubt after sustaining a knock.

PATRIK STOLLARZ/GettyImages

Hoffenheim

Talisman Sandro Wagner still remains out for a brief spell after picking up a problem regarding his achilles tendon.


Potential Borussia Dortmund Lineup: Burki, Toljan, Sokratis, Toprak, Schmelzer, Kagawa, Weigl, Guerreiro, Yarmolenko, Aubameyang, Pulisic.

Matthias Hangst/GettyImages

Potential Hoffenheim Lineup: Baumann, Akpoguma, Vogt, Hübner, Geiger, Kaderabek, Amiri, Demirbay, Schulz, Uth, Gnabry.


Prediction


Despite Hoffenheim being ahead of Dortmund in the table, a win for the home side is on the cards. 

It will be a typical hard fought win, in which both sides will have few chances. However, like always, Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the man to decide the game.


Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Hoffenheim  

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