Borussia Dortmund will be looking to get back to winning ways when they return to action against Hertha Berlin at Signal Iduna Park on Friday following the international break.
14 October 2016
Venue: Signal Iduna Park
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Dortmund 60 28 15 17
Hertha Berlin 60 17 15 28
Hertha Berlin 0-3 Dortmund 20/04/16 (Bundesliga)
BVB goalscorers: G. Kastro (20'), M. Reus (75'), H. Mkhitaryan (83')
Players to watch:
The Bundesliga's top two goalscorers go head-to-head in this match, with both Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Berlin's Veded Ibisevic netting five league goals so far this season.
Aubameyang has little to prove after scoring 25 times last season, leading him to a runner-up spot in the race to the German top flight's Golden Boot award and, while he will want to go one better this term, more eyes will be focused on Ibisevic.
After only netting 10 in the entirety of the 2015/16 league season, he has started the new campaign on fire with five strikes already in just six starts, and he will be determined to keep his run going to prove his doubters wrong.
Additionally, his goals have been the driving force behind Hertha's fantastic start to the season, which sees them in an unlikely second position, just three points behind Bayern Munich.
Team form and manager quotes:
After a solid start to the campaign, Dortmund suffered a minor blip before the break for international fixtures last week. They had to come from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid at home in the Champions League, before falling to an unexpected 2-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen in the league.
The defeat saw them slip down to third in the table and one point behind Hertha.
One positive for the home side has been the form of Mario Gotze, who rejoined the club from Bayern Munich in the off-season, and club CEO Joachim Watzke believes he will once again become a big player for BVB.
"Mario shows more every week," he told kicker. "We are delighted with his development. I have the impression that he's significantly sharper now."
Hertha Berlin, on the other hand, are flying high and have only lost one match in all competitions this season, which was a 3-0 hammering at the hands of none other than reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern.
They cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over HSV prior to the international break and will be looking to keep up their momentum from that victory when they travel to Dortmund.
BVB head coach Thomas Tuchel criticised the match officials after their loss to Leverkusen, while Berlin manager Pal Dardai accused his opposite number from trying to deflect attention from their poor performance.
"It's unfair towards referees and puts pressure on them," he said. "I had the impression that Leverkusen deserved to win," he said. "Maybe Tuchel just wanted to distract people from that."
Dortmund are suffering somewhat of a crisis with injuries to key personnel at the moment, and Tuchel must be cursing his misfortune during the international break.
Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who has so far played every minute of Bundesliga action for BVB, was substituted just seven minutes into Greece's 2-0 win over Estonia and looks certain to miss the match against Hertha Berlin with a groin problem.
Meanwhile, Lukasz Piszczek was withdrawn from the Poland squad with a knee injury, Raphael Guerreiro missed Portugal's most recent match and reports have emerged that Gonzalo Castro could be facing up to four weeks out with a groin problem.
Finally, Marc Bartra's recovery from his own groin strain is coming along well, but he is unlikely to be ready for Friday's clash.
For the visitors, Vladimir Darida and Peter Pekarik are expected back later this month from ankle and hamstring injuries, but will almost certainly miss the match against Dortmund, while Ronny and Salomon Kalou have reportedly returned to training this week and will be in contention.
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