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|Match Result and Both Teams to Score||Odds|
Borussia Monchengladbach are struggling in the wrong half of the table and BVB can triumph on their own patch.
Back Borussia Dortmund to win and both teams to score (+163)
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Perhaps there is a chance after all. Our last Bundesliga preview opined that Borussia Dortmund’s title chances were all but over. A nine-point gap to Bayern Munich looked insurmountable, and it was BVB rather than the champions who appeared to have the tougher task on matchday 22: whereas Marco Rose’s side had to visit a strong Union Berlin team, Bayern had a winnable game against bottom-half Bochum.
Yet it was Dortmund, not Bayer, who were celebrating come the end of the weekend. Their 3-0 victory over Union was as routine as they come, with an early Marco Reus brace putting the visitors to the capital in a commanding position after 25 minutes. That win in Berlin came a day after Bayern’s shock 4-2 loss to Bochum. Astonishingly, the champions found themselves 4-1 down at half-time despite taking the lead in the ninth minute through Robert Lewandowski.
To be clear, winning the league will still be incredibly difficult for Dortmund. A six-point gap is still sizable. Bayern’s lead is in effect the equivalent of seven points, such is their vastly superior goal difference – the first tiebreaker if two teams finish level on points in Germany’s top tier. There is still one head-to-head meeting between the pair to come, but Bayern will be more confident than Dortmund going into it: BVB have lost each of their last six league matches against the Bavarians.
Still, Dortmund deserve credit for hanging on in there. Theirs is certainly not a complete team. They are still too open defensively to win the biggest prizes, and Rose has been unable to eradicate the off-days which Dortmund have too frequently. But considering the fact Bayern generate around double the revenue of BVB, a six-point gap arguably reflects better on the latter than the former.
It is fair to say the campaign is not going to plan for Borussia Monchengladbach. There has been a slight uptick since the winter break, with Gladbach registering a shock 2-1 triumph over an under-strength Bayern side on January 7. They were also victorious last time out, edging out Augsburg 3-2 at Borussia-Park. But a team which finished eighth last term and was expected to once again challenge for the European spots finds itself languishing just above the relegation zone.
Gladbach will almost certainly avoid demotion to the second tier this term. They are four points above the play-off spot and have enough quality to pull further clear in the weeks and months ahead. But there is even less chance of them participating in continental competition next season. Adi Hutter, who replaced current Dortmund head coach Rose last summer, remains under pressure.
Gladbach’s biggest issue is their propensity to concede goals. Their backline has been breached on 40 occasions – the fourth-worst record in the division. Gladbach have now gone 10 Bundesliga games without a clean sheet. They could not even keep one against Arminia Bielefeld, the second-lowest scorers in the league.
Hutter retains the backing of the players and his track record shows he is a good manager. A statement win against a team like Dortmund would go a long way to bolstering his position at Borussia-Park.
That will not be easy, however. Erling Haaland faces a late fitness test as he closes in on a return to action, but even without the Norway international Dortmund boast considerable firepower. They are averaging 2.6 goals per game this term, which might look modest compared to Bayern (the champions are averaging 3.18) but is an excellent record by any other measure.
Yet Dortmund, like their upcoming opponents, are not exactly defensive masters. The clean sheet they kept against Union Berlin was long overdue, with their previous shut-out coming on December 15 against last-placed Greuther Furth. BVB have conceded 36 goals this season, which puts them in the bottom half of the defensive standings.
Gladbach’s results remain patchy but they retain an attacking threat, having scored in each of their last eight Bundesliga matches. That, combined with Dortmund’s less-than-stellar record at the back, should give Hutter’s charges confidence ahead of their trip to Signal Iduna Park.
Whether that is enough to win this weekend is doubtful, however. Dortmund are simply a superior side to Gladbach and their greater quality should make the difference. Back a home win and both teams to score in Sunday’s clash.
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|Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Monchengladbach Information|
|Teams||Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Monchengladbach|
|Location||Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany|
|Time||Sunday, 20 February 2022, 11.30 AM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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