Borussia Dortmund will be striving for more consistency in 2023 as they attempt to get back into the top four and possibly the title race. BVB resume their Bundesliga campaign on Sunday as they host Augsburg who themselves need points for very different reasons.
So far this season, injuries and inconsistent performances have caused Dortmund to slip down to 7th. Having lost their last two Bundesliga fixtures before the winter break, Edin Terzić’s side face an uphill battle if they’re to make their way back into the Champions League positions and stay there. A win against Augsburg this weekend will take them into 6th and two points off Freiburg in 4th. Though the gap is small, it’s staying in the top four which will provide the biggest challenge for BVB.
Dortmund have had a turbulent January thanks to the contract saga of Youssoufa Moukoko, Thomas Meunier’s injury, and constant stories regarding Jude Bellingham’s future. However, it will come as a huge relief as Moukoko has finally come to an agreement with Dortmund a signed an extension until 2026. What’s more, the club acted fast in covering Meunier and purchased Norwegian international Julian Ryerson from Union Berlin.
But the biggest story has to be Sébastien Haller. After being diagnosed with testicular cancer last summer, it was unsure whether the forward would play football again. However, after successful treatment and unbreakable willpower, Haller is not only back playing but scoring goals. The Ivorian international made his return during a test match against Fortuna Düsseldorf earlier this month. In his second game back, the 28-year-old scored three goals in the space of eight minutes against FC Basel. The story of Haller alone should give each Dortmund player the inspiration to hit the ground running in 2023.
Augsburg have also been busy this winter. Though have sold trusted striker Florian Niederlechner to relegation rivals Hertha Berlin, the Bavarian club have been busy in getting people in the door.
So far, head coach Enrico Maaßen has welcomed Irvin Cardona from Stade Brest and Kelvin Yeboah on loan from Genoa. Both forwards, it’s clear where Augsburg are trying to improve. The team has scored just 18 goals in the Bundesliga this season which is one of the league’s lowest tallies. Both Cardona and Yeboah offer plenty of pace and perhaps playing a counter-attacking game against the likes of Dortmund will play into their hands.
Coming into this one, Dortmund are unbeaten in their previous seven home games against Augsburg, beating them on four occasions. Having said that, Augsburg have preferred playing away from home so far this campaign. Out of their 15 points, 10 of them have come away from the Augsburg Arena.
GGFN | Jamie Allen