Thursday, December 16
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Dec 11, 2021 at 2.30pm UK
VfL BochumVfL Bochum
DortmundBorussia Dortmund
Polter (40' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-0)
Brandt (85')
Schulz (57'), Hummels (58'), Zagadou (90+4')

Preview: VfL Bochum vs. Borussia Dortmund - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: VfL Bochum vs. Borussia Dortmund - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between VfL Bochum and Borussia Dortmund, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Borussia Dortmund will be looking to bounce back from their defeat in Der Klassiker last weekend when they travel to an in-form VfL Bochum side in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The hosts have incredibly won five of their last seven in their quest to avoid an immediate return to the 2.Bundesliga, whilst the visitors will look to Erling Braut Haaland to lead them to victory following his return to fitness in recent weeks.

Match preview

Back at the October international break, there were very few that could have predicted the position that Bochum would find themselves in heading towards the winter break.

Thomas Reis's men initially found their long-awaited return to the Bundesliga a difficult challenge, with the first seven games yielding just four points and as many goals scored.

As a result, they found themselves in the relegation places along with their fellow promoted side Greuther Furth, and both were getting cut adrift from the rest of the division despite being just a couple of months into the season.

However, another seven games later, and Die Unabsteigbaren sit in 10th place ahead of the visit of Dortmund, four points off the European positions and six above Augsburg in the relegation playoff spot.

A dramatic turnaround in form on the return from that break in October has seen Saturday's hosts record five wins from the seven fixtures played, with the only exceptions being narrow defeats at European-hopefuls Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.

The most recent of those victories arrived in a potentially-vital relegation clash last weekend when Bochum travelled to Augsburg, where Reis's side flew out of the blocks and into a 3-0 lead by half time, with Gerrit Holtmann scoring in between a Sebastian Polter brace.

Their opponents put in a strong fightback in the second half to pull two goals back, but Bochum avoided any disaster and hung on for three more points in their quest to avoid the drop.

Meanwhile, Dortmund fell to their seventh consecutive defeat to Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker last weekend, in a breathtaking encounter between top and second in the table.

Both sides produced some outstanding attacking football, but no matter how well Dortmund perform against their rivals, they seem to lack the psychological advantage or belief to overcome the champions.

Julian Brandt had netted the opener inside five minutes to settle Dortmund down, but after going into half time 2-1 behind, even Haaland's fantastic effort to equalise could not prevent BVB from suffering a 3-2 loss in controversial circumstances.

As a result, Marco Rose's side head into matchday 15 four points off Bayern at the summit, but with Haaland back to fitness ahead of the upcoming winter break, the Black and Yellows will be confident of closing the gap before it comes around.

The Norwegian striker has only played around 130 minutes since returning from an injury layoff, but after netting four goals during that time, he has taken his overall tally for the season to 17 in just 13 appearances.

Two of these four were netted off the bench in midweek, as Dortmund cruised to a 5-0 win over Besiktas in the Champions League at Signal Iduna Park.

Despite the result, they drop into the Europa League knockout stages on their head-to-head record to Sporting Lisbon, but with their talisman back to fitness, Dortmund look back to their attacking best and will be confident of achieving maximum points against three of the Bundesliga's bottom-half sides in the coming weeks.

VfL Bochum Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

VfL Bochum form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

The hosts could welcome back first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Riemann to their starting lineup on Saturday following his absence from the win at Augsburg last week.

Michael Esser will drop out as a result, whilst Saulo Decarli, Patrick Osterhage and Simon Zoller remain on the sidelines.

As a result, Reis could name an unchanged lineup from the 3-2 victory, other than the expected change between the posts.

As for Dortmund, Thorgan Hazard could return from a four-game absence caused by COVID-19, but Brandt, Thomas Meunier and Manuel Akanji could be absent following injuries picked up over the last two games.

Roman Burki, Marwin Hitz, Mateu Morey, Marcel Schmelzer, Giovanni Reyna and Youssoufa Moukoko all remain sidelined and will miss the trip to Bochum.

VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Riemann; Stafylidis, Masovic, Lampropoulos, Soares; Lowen, Losilla, Rexhbecaj; Holtmann, Polter, Asano

Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Wolf, Hummels, Zagadou, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Witsel, Dahoud; Reus; Malen, Haaland

We say: VfL Bochum 1-3 Borussia Dortmund

Although Bochum find themselves on a strong run of form, we are predicting a Dortmund win here largely due to the return of Haaland to the team in recent weeks.

The striker not only scores a huge amount of goals, but he also leads the line and lifts the whole team around him, so as a result we think the visitors will come out on top on Saturday.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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