Relegation-threatened Augsburg welcome title-chasing Borussia Dortmund to the Augsburg Arena this Friday night, with both sides desperate to claim all three points for very different reasons.
Lucien Favre's side recently returned to winning ways following a nervy 3-2 victory against Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday - BVB's first win in six games. The result extended their lead over Bayern Munich to three points at the top of the Bundesliga, with Dortmund now in their best position to capture the German title since 2012.
In contrast, it is relegation that Augsburg are attempting to avoid, currently sitting just four points above the drop zone. Having won just four games all season, Manuel Baum now has the daunting task of attempting to mastermind a plan which claims a positive result against the league leaders.
Check out 90min's preview for the Bundesliga clash below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick-Off?||Friday 1st March|
|What Time Is Kick-Off?||20:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Augsburg Arena|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 2|
Augsburg will be missing English starlet Reece Oxford through suspension after the youngster picked up a red card in the dying embers of his side's 5-1 demolition inflicted by Freiburg last weekend. Top-scorer Alfred Finnbogason - who has netted ten goals in just 14 appearances this season - is also a doubt having sat out the previous two games through injury.
Dortmund will be buoyed by the return of captain and talisman Marco Reus, who returned to training earlier this week. The German has been in scintillating form this season, netting 13 goals and providing six assists during his 19 Bundesliga appearances thus far.
BVB will be missing two key players however, with Chelsea-bound Christian Pulisic ruled out through a muscle injury, whilst veteran defender Lukasz Piszczek is a doubt following a heel injury.
|Augsburg||Kobel; Schmid, Khedira, Gotze, Stafylidis; Ji, Baier, Koo Ja-Cheol, Max; Gregoritsch, Cordova.|
|Dortmund||Burki; Hakimi, Zagadou, Akanji, Diallo; Delaney, Witsel; Sancho, Gotze, Reus; Alcacer.|
Friday night will mark the 35th occasion the two sides have met, with Dortmund predictably boasting the much better record. They have won over half, 19 to be exact, whilst tasting defeat just six times.
Their meeting earlier in the season at the Westfalenstadion was an absolute thriller, as Favre's side netted three times in the final 15 minutes to secure a dramatic 4-3 comeback win, with a hat-trick from Paco Alcacer doing the damage.
Neither side have been in terrific form, despite Dortmund's league position suggesting otherwise. Favre's troops had gone six games without a win prior to Sunday's victory, a run that saw Dortmund concede nine goals in just three games.
After starting the campaign in solid fashion defensively, the floodgates appear to have opened, however, only RB Leipzig have conceded fewer goals than Dortmund in the league. Favre will be hoping to record successive victories whilst keeping a clean sheet on Friday night, a result that would go some way to reinstalling the confidence required to claim the title.
Their opponents, Augsburg, have suffered three consecutive defeats in the Bundesliga, dropping them to 15th place. They have conceded a staggering eight goals in just two games, five of those coming against Freiburg in their last outing which doesn't bode well for the visit of the league's top scorers.
Here's how each side have performed in their last five outings.
|Freiburg 5-1 Augsburg (23/02)||Dortmund 3-2 Leverkusen (24/02)|
|Augsburg 2-3 Bayern Munich (15/02)||Nurnberg 0-0 Dortmund (18/02)|
|Werder Bremen 4-0 Augsburg (10/02)||Tottenham 3-0 Dortmund (13/02)|
|Hostein Kiel 0-1 Augsburg (06/02)||Dortmund 3-3 Hoffenheim (09/02)|
|Augsburg 3-0 Mainz (03/02)||Dortmund 3-3 (2-4) Werder Bremen (05/02)|
It is difficult to envisage anything other than an away victory, given that Dortmund will have renewed confidence following their 3-2 win over Leverkusen. Coupled with the return of Marco Reus, it is assumed the three points will be returning to Dortmund, however, BVB have shown they are capable of slipping up to lowly opposition.
Just a fortnight ago they were held 0-0 by bottom side Nurnberg, although they are expected to come through this test. Augsburg have shown they are capable of scoring goals this campaign, so may well breach a somewhat leaky Dortmund defence, but they will do well to stop the likes of Reus, Jadon Sancho and Mario Gotze from netting.
Prediction: Augsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund