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Borussia Dortmund recently moved level on points with Bayern Munich in top spot
Hoffenheim are now outside the relegation play-off spot on goal difference alone
Borussia Dortmund should come out on top in an important Bundesliga encounter
The odds for Hoffenheim vs Borussia Dortmund are provided by the FanDuel sportsbook, where a $1000 no sweat bet is being offered to new punters right now.
Hoffenheim are in terrible form and this could be another tough day for them.
Back Borussia Dortmund to score in both halves this weekend. (+140)
Bayern Munich are top of the table but they are not sitting comfortably. A failure to win four of their six matches since World Cup 2022 has opened the door to other teams in the Bundesliga title race.
Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin (who face the champions in a titanic tussle this weekend) are now level on points with Bayern, who have won the biggest prize in German soccer 10 years on the bounce. Freiburg are three points behind, RB Leipzig are four points back and even sixth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt are only five points shy of the summit of the standings.
The assumption has long been that Bayern Munich would eventually pull clear of the chasing pack, but Dortmund in particular look like they might have staying power. Edin Terzic’s side have been brilliant since the winter break, so much so that the pessimistic mood at the club prior to the World Cup is now a distant memory.
Dortmund have won all six of their Bundesliga matches in January and February. They have also progressed to the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal, where Leipzig await, and hold an aggregate advantage over Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Just as impressive as their results are the performances. Dortmund are playing with vim and vigor again. And while they are still not completely convincing at the back, it is notable that they have conceded one or zero goals in each of their last seven games in all competitions.
The improvement from the first half of the campaign is in part down to an easing of injury problems, but Terzic deserves plenty of credit too.
A 4-1 thrashing of Hertha Berlin last weekend showed how far the team has come, albeit against admittedly mediocre opposition. Make no mistake: Borussia Dortmund are genuine title contenders.
Dortmund are flying right now. Hoffenheim most certainly are not. A 1-0 loss to Augsburg last time out means they are now outside the Bundesliga’s relegation play-off place on goal difference alone. Just two points separates them from the automatic demotion spots.
It represents quite the collapse. Hoffenheim finished ninth last season. After 10 games of the current campaign, they sat fourth - the final Champions League qualification place in Germany. All was well at the PreZero Arena.
Needless to say, no one anticipated such a dramatic downturn. Since moving into fourth on matchday 10, Hoffenheim have taken two points from a possible 33. That is a pitiful return and one which has left the supporters genuinely concerned that their team could be playing in the Bundesliga 2 next term.
Pellegrino Matarazzo replaced Andre Breitenreiter as Hoffenheim boss earlier this month, but the American has yet to make much of an impression.
Matarazzo will definitely not have written this game off, but subsequent fixtures against the likes of Mainz and Hertha Berlin are more likely to give him his first win in his new role.
As things stand, the relegation battle contains five teams: Schalke, Hertha, Bochum, Hoffenheim and Stuttgart. Only two of those will definitely be playing in the Bundesliga in the 2023/24 campaign, and while there is plenty of soccer still to be played, Hoffenheim will be desperate to arrest their decline before the problems become terminal.
In Dortmund’s first match of 2023, it looked like more of the same was on the way. A topsy-turvy 4-3 triumph over Augsburg on January 22 seemed to suggest BVB were not in fact cut out for the slog of a title tilt.
Since then, though, there has been much more control over their displays. Bayern are usually compared favorably to Dortmund for their ability to avoid chaos, but the two teams have swapped identities in recent weeks. BVB have suddenly become the side you can rely on.
That might be disconcerting to many of their fans, none of whom are getting carried away by this six-game winning streak.
Yet there is no doubt that Dortmund are in a good place right now. And with Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin taking place on Sunday, they have the chance to go top of the table by avoiding defeat at the PreZero Arena.
Not that Dortmund will be aiming to simply avoid defeat. Terzic will be targeting all three points as he looks to maintain the momentum ahead of a crunch clash with RB Leipzig next weekend.
Dortmund pack a considerable punch in attack these days. That does not bode well for Hoffenheim, who are without a clean sheet since the middle of October.
They have also conceded goals in both halves in seven of their last nine top-flight outings, which is why that bet looks particularly attractive for Saturday’s contest. Back Dortmund to find the net both before and after the interval.
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Teams: Hoffenheim vs Borussia Dortmund
Location: PreZero Arena, Sinsheim, Germany
Time: Saturday 25 February 2023, 9.30 AM 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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