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Edin Terzic’s side will be desperate to bounce back from last weekend’s humiliation, and Hertha Berlin are among the kindest opponents they could have been paired with for matchday four.
Back Borussia Dortmund to score in both halves (+130)
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Borussia Dortmund are known to be a team with a tendency to make things hard for themselves, but in the closing stages of last weekend’s meeting with Werder Bremen, they must have been pretty pleased.
BVB had won their previous two matches against tricky opposition in Bayer Leverkusen and Freiburg. Edin Terzic, their returning manager, was out to show that Dortmund had turned a corner. They might not be as spectacular as they were in 2021/22, but this looked like a more mature, professional side that knew how to get the job done. Leading 2-0 in the 89th minute of their third game of the campaign against Werder, Dortmund looked set to provide another piece of evidence in support of that theory.
Then things fell apart in stunning fashion. First, Lee Buchanan halved the deficit. Then, in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, Niklas Schmidt equalized for Werder. Dortmund had thrown away two points… or so it seemed. In fact, the damage was worse: in the fifth minute of additional play, Oliver Burke scored the winning goal to leave Dortmund shell-shocked and empty-handed. From 2-0 up, they were suddenly 3-2 down.
It was a truly astonishing turnaround, one which has been described by many as the greatest comeback in Bundesliga history. Werder refused to give in and kept going until the final whistle. But Dortmund only have themselves to blame. All they had to do was shut the game down and protect their 2-0 lead. But their defense was once again found wanting, allowing Werder – a newly promoted team, no less – to pull off an extraordinary feat.
Bayern Munich will surely prove uncatchable in the Bundesliga title race this term, but unless Dortmund can cut out episodes such as the one we witnessed at Signal Iduna Park last time out, they may even struggle to finish as the division’s runners-up.
Hertha Berlin have few positives to take from their start to the campaign. A 3-1 defeat by arch-rivals Union Berlin on the opening weekend was the worst possible beginning, and although Sandro Schwarz’s side held Eintracht Frankfurt to a 1-1 draw on matchday two, they went down 1-0 to Borussia Monchengladbach last time out. Hertha are also already out of the DFB-Pokal following defeat by Eintracht Braunschweig of the 2. Bundesliga.
Hertha therefore head into the weekend in 16th place in the Bundesliga standings. That is exactly where they finished last term, necessitating an appearance in the promotion/relegation play-offs. The club from the capital edged out Hamburg 2-1 on aggregate, but Hertha still opted against retaining the services of manager Felix Magath beyond the end of the campaign.
Magath was Hertha’s third manager of a tumultuous season after Pal Dardai and Tayfun Korkut. Schwarz was installed in the dugout over the summer and has been tasked with keeping the club clear of relegation trouble this term. The early signs suggest that might be difficult. Schwarz wants his team to play with energy and dynamism, but he is finding it tough to lift the club out of their malaise.
Hertha’s best chance of avoiding defeat this weekend will be by causing Dortmund problems on the counter-attack. The sample size is small, but only three teams – Freiburg, Union Berlin and Schalke – have averaged less possession than Hertha so far. The speedy forward Dodi Lukebakio, who has scored both of his team’s goals to date, will keep Dortmund’s defenders on their toes.
BVB will be chomping at the bit to get back out onto the field. The Bundesliga often pauses for an international break after its first three matchdays, but the soccer calendar has been significantly altered this season in order to make space for the 2022 World Cup in November and December. That is good news for Dortmund, who would not have wanted to spend two weeks stewing on that loss to Werder.
We can expect Terzic’s side to come flying out of the traps here in a bid to get their noses in front early. Based on expected goals, Hertha have conceded higher quality chances than all but three of their fellow Bundesliga teams this season, indicating that Schwarz has not yet been unable to tighten up their backline.
All of the above points to a Dortmund win, but betting the moneyline is not particularly attractive on this occasion. Instead, back the visitors to the Olympiastadion to score either side of half-time.
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|Teams||Hertha Berlin vs Borussia Dortmund|
|Location||Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany|
|Time||Saturday, 27 August 2022, 9.30AM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
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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