Preview: Borussia Dortmund v Hoffenheim

Reus Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund will be looking to leapfrog TSG 1899 Hoffenheim into the top three of the Bundesliga when they clash on Saturday afternoon.

Date: 6 May 2017
Match Day 32
Kick-off: 15H30 (GMT+2)
Venue: Signal-Iduna-Park

Referee: F. Brych
Assistants: M. Borsch, S. Lupp
Fourth official: F. Willenborg

Head-to-head summary:

Dortmund 19 8 7 4
Hoffenheim 19 4 7 8

Previous encounter:

Hoffenheim 2-2 Dortmund 16/12/16 (Bundesliga)

Hoffenheim goalscorers: M. Uth (3′), S. Wagner (20′)
Dortmund goalscorers: M. Götze (11′), P. Aubameyang (48′)

Players to watch:

The hosts may look to rising star Ousmane Dembélé to provide the inspiration up front. The 19-year-old winger has assisted in a staggering 20 goals across all competitions this season.

Hoffenheim’s striker-pairing of Andrej Kramaric and Sandro Wagner has been incredibly successful this season. The duo have bagged a combined 27 goals across all competitions, while adding 11 assists.

Team form and manager quotes:

The BVB find themselves in fourth position in the standings with three games left to play, but only trail third-placed Hoffenheim by a single point, which means a win would lift them to third, and into an automatic Champions League spot instead of a play-off tie.

Thomas Tuchel’s charges are unbeaten in their last three games in all competitions, beating Borussia M’gladbach and famously knocking Bayern München out of the DFB Pokal, before a disappointing goalless draw at home against Cologne.

Speaking after the semi-final win over the Bavarians, Tuchel told a press conference: “Now we have to focus on the league and put the cup final aside. It’s really nice that the 34th matchday [in the Bundesliga] is not the last game of the season.

“We need mental readiness. We can nurse our wounds afterwards.”

Meanwhile, Hoffenheim are also unbeaten in their last three outings, claiming two wins and a draw. Their most recent game saw them edge out Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 at home.

With three games left in the season, the visitors still have a chance at finishing runners-up to champions Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, as they trail second-placed RB Leipzig by five points.

Manager Julian Nagelsmann is, however, more concerned with retaining third position ahead of Dortmund.

He told the press, according to ESPN: “The pressure on Dortmund is brutal. They must finish third. We don’t have to, we just want to.”

Team news:

Dortmund are still without a number of players, including the latest casualty centre-back Sokratis, who picked up a knock at the weekend. Nuri Sahin also remains sidelined with a ruptured ankle ligament.

Hoffenheim should have a fully fit squad from which to pick their starting 11, barring any late injury troubles.

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