By 90Min
January 13, 2018

Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund kick off the Rückrunde with a mouthwatering home clash against Wolfsburg on Sunday. 

Since the appointment of Peter Stöger back in December of last year, der BVB have stopped the rot and in the process have climbed up the table. 


Die Schwarze-Gelbe currently sit third in the league, however that is somewhat misleading as Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach all sit on the same points as Dortmund (28) heading into the weekend. 

The winter break has proven to be very beneficial for der BVB, with key players like Mario Götze and Lukasz Piszczek now available to return to first team action - following a long spell on the sidelines. Likewise, Dortmund star Marco Reus is nearing his return to full fitness, after he missed the Hinrunde through injury.

As for the visitors, die Wölfe didn't have as good as a winter break as their opponents. The sale of striker Mario Gomez came as a slight shock to Bundesliga supporters, however they did bring in a new signing in the shape of midfielder Renato Steffen. 

Die Wölfe currently sit 12th in the league, and with European qualification seemingly too far from reach, safety would therefore be the main concern for Wolfsburg this campaign.


Classic Encounter

Current champions Dortmund hosted Wolfsburg at the Signal Iduna Park in December of 2012, and the two sides produced a true spectacle for the fans.

The home side got off to the best start possible, as summer signing Marco Reus' whipped ball in from a free-kick avoided everyone and bounced passed the helpless Diego Benaglio in goal to give Dortmund a 1-0 lead with just five minutes gone.

Lars Baron/GettyImages

Things got better for the away side however, as Marcel Schmelzer was given his marching orders in the 35th minute after the defender handled the ball on the line to prevent what was a certain goal for die Wölfe, and the consequential penalty was converted by the Brazilian Diego. 

The away side soon took the lead, this time through Naldo. The Brazilian, who has proved to be a villain of Dortmund in current years, smashed home a volley from outside the box and Wolfsburg led the champions 2-1 at the break.

Lars Baron/GettyImages

Dortmund came out of the traps quickly after the break, and with only a few minutes of the second period played they had a chance to equalize when they were given a penalty following a foul on Robert Lewandowski. 


It was Lewandowski's fellow countryman Jakub Blaszczykowski who sent Benaglio the wrong way and Dortmund were level.

The home sides joy was short lived however, as Bast Dost broke Dortmund hearts with over 15 minutes remaining as he beat the offside trap and slotted coolly past Roman Weidenfeller. 

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-DORTMUND-WOLFSBURG

The game ended 3-2 to the away side, however it was Dortmud who had the last laugh as they finished 23 points ahead of die Wölfe at the end of the 2012/13 season.


Form

Dortmund go into the game off the back of a disappointing cup loss to Bayern Munich. However before that fixture, new boss Stöger had brought a sense of optimism to the Signal Iduna Park and he began his reign with two wins from two in the league. 


The form of Christian Pulisic has been key to Dortmund's success this season, and following a very impressive 2017, many Dortmund fans will be hoping that the American continues to improve in 2018. 

Unlike Dortmund, Wolfsburg ended 2017 with a win, as they beat Bundesliga 2 side 1. FC Nürnberg. In the league however, die Wölfe have been draw experts. Ten draws, along with only three wins means that Wolfsburg are currently only four points from the relegation zone. Relegation seems unlikely, however with the loss of striker Mario Gomez it could be a difficult few months for for die Wölfe.


Team News

Borussia Dortmund

Mario Götze and Lukasz Piszczek are set to return after a spell on the sidelines. Both left-backs Raphael Guerreiro and Marcel Schmelzer are out with minor injuries, and therefore Dortmund will have to shuffle their back four around on Sunday. 

Long term absentee Marco Reus is nearing his return, after he resumed training during the teams training camp in Marbella over the winter break. 

Wolfsburg

Blaszczykowski is likely to miss out on a trip to his old club, with the Polish international currently sidelined with injury. Ignacio Camacho and John Brooks will miss the trip with injury, and Dutchman Jeffrey Bruma doubtful for the trip to Dortmund.


Predicted Lineups

Borussia Dortmund (4-3-3): Bürki - Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Toljan - Kagawa, Sahin, Götze - Yarmolenko, Aubameyang, Pulisic.

Wolfsburg (4-2-3-1): Casteels - Verhaegh, Bruma, Uduokhai, Tisserand - Arnold, Guilavogui - Gerhardt, Didavi, Malli - Origi.


Prediction

Despite losing in their final game of 2017, a win for the home side is on the cards. The returning Piszczek will give Dortmund another avenue going forward, and with Andrey Yarmolenko cutting in on his left, expect the Pole to overlap at every opportunity.

Simon Hofmann/GettyImages

The main attacking threat as always will come from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and with the Gabon international only two goals away from a century in the Bundesliga, Sunday could well be the day that we see this celebration that the goal-machine has been talking about.

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Wolfsburg

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