Title-chasing Borussia Dortmund return to home action for the first time since their calamitous defeat to champions-elect Bayern Munich, as they welcome high-flying Hertha Berlin to the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Dortmund come into this tie having suffered a 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich last time they took to home turf. Without the crucial services of Marco Reus, they fell to a sole strike from Joshua Kimmich which essentially sealed the race for the Bundesliga title.
Die Schwarzgelben put themselves back on track last week with a 6-1 thrashing on the road at bottom-of-the-league SC Paderborn. A hattrick from Englishman Jadon Sancho on his first start since March and goals from Thorgen Hazard, Achraf Hakimi and Marcel Schmelzer bagged a vital three points in their bid to keep second place just beyond the grasp of RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.
The visitors, Hertha, are enjoying a fresh start to their Bundesliga campaign under the new tenure of Bruno Labbadia. The German is the fourth manager to have taken charge of Die Alte Dame this season, and he has turned their fortunes around since the resumption of the league with a four-game unbeaten run that has seen them claim a staggering 10 points from a possible 12.
The string of good results has propelled Hertha up the standings into Europa League contention, having been loitering around the relegation zone only a matter of weeks ago.
The hosts will be without Reus for a while longer as he continues his recovery from a groin injury. Mats Hummels will miss out due to suspension following the reception of a fifth yellow card this season last time out.
The big question surrounds the fitness of youthful starlet Erling Haaland, who suffered a knee injury in the blockbuster match with Bayern. The Norwegian did not feature in Paderborn last week, but the additional recovery time may see him ready to go again on Saturday.
Hertha’s ever-increasing injury list rules out seven players, including linchpin forward Matheus Cunha and first-team regular Marvin Plattenhardt, both of whom suffered concussions in the 2-2 draw with RB Leipzig almost two weeks ago.
Borussia Dortmund: Burki; Piszczek, Schmelzer, Akanji; Hakimi, Can, Witsel, Guerreiro; Brandt, Sancho, Hazard. (3-4-3)
Hertha Berlin: Jarstein; Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Mittelstadt; Grujic, Skjelbred, Lukebakio, Dilrosun; Ibisevic, Piatek. (4-4-2)