Key battles to watch out in Borussia Dortmund’s hosting of Wolfsburg
Sportsbet.io outlines the player clashes that headline the Bundesliga’s game of the week.
Borussia Dortmund, sixth on the Bundesliga points table, appear to be goal-shy now and Lucien Favre expects his team to put on a commanding act against Wolfsburg, who are winless in eight matches against Die Borussen.
Wolfsburg remains to be the only unbeaten team in the league and have just leaked five goals so far - the least among all teams this term. Die Wölfe are two points adrift of the top spot and fancy a favourable result on their visit to the Signal Iduna Park.
MANUEL AKANJI vs WOUT WEGHORST
The 24-year-old has started in all but one of Dortmund’s league games so far and commands the fourth-best possession rate in the Bundesliga (728), apart from completing a whopping 92.7% successful passes from open play. Akanji has asserted his place as a regular in the backline and will be instructed to keep constant check on the movements of Wout Weghourst.
The German forward has registered five goals and two assists and will be Wolfsburg’s chief weapon in exploiting a dizzy Dortmund defence. Since his arrival in summer 2018, Weghorst has scored 22 times, averaging a goal in almost every game and is tipped for a match-winning performance at the Signal Iduna Park.
AXEL WITSEL vs MAXIMILIAN ARNOLD
A battle that will surely raise eyebrows, Witsel and Arnold will lock horns for supremacy in the engine room. Dortmund’s Belgian midfielder commands an early edge into this contest, with a better goal contribution (two goals and three assists), successful passes from open play (94.6%) and possession rate (679) and is poised to call the shots from the centre of the park.
Despite his output level slightly below that of Witsel, the academy graduate has played an effective part in Wolfsburg’s unbeaten run by completing 84.4% successful passes from open play and winning four free kicks for the team’s cause.
MARCO REUS vs JEFFREY BRUMA
In the absence of Paco Alcacer, Lucien Favre will pin his hopes on the influential Reus to revitalize Die Borussen’s attack regiment. The club captain has scored 10 goals in 11 meetings with Wolfsburg and is the odds-on favourite to not only open the scoring, but also be the game-changing factor in the fixture.
Wolfsburg’s defence has been the meanest in the Bundesliga this term, with Bruma effectively winning 73.7% of his aerial duels to maintain Die Wölfe’s ascendancy at the back. Expected to start in a three-man defence, the 27-year-old Dutch centre-back must stitch an intimidating act to withstand the threat of the flambuoyant Reus.
Words: William Paul