Dortmund will travel to face Hertha Berlin on the last game day of the year, looking to keep pace at the top of the table. The last game of the year always has added and intangible significance as it sets the tone for the winter break and the campaign that follows. When the games resume, is your team chasing or being sued? Is winter camp happy or exhausting? Dortmund are fortunate enough to prepare for a truly happy holiday with a win over a struggling opponent, but they will be forced to sidestep a few key player absences to do so.
Hertha languishes in 14th place, continuing the poor form of last season. Much was expected of the capital club when an outside investor breathed new life into the team, but what looked like a revitalization turned into a big trash fire in Hollywood, as did greats. names like Krzysztof Piątek, Lucas Tousart and Kevin-Prince Boateng. enter and did not live up to expectations. Berlin flirted with relegation last season and failed to turn the boat around. That said, they still have quality players who will hurt a disorganized and listless Borussia Dortmund if the team approach this game with a bad frame of mind.
There are a few notable absentees from Dortmund’s travel list, as Ruhr Nachrichten reported.
Dortmund players who made the trip to Berlin:
Hitz, Drljaca – Zagadou, Pongracic, Guerreiro, Schulz, Meunier, Passlack, Can, Witsel, Dahoud, Brandt, Reinier, Reus, Hazard, Knauff, Wolf, Haaland, Malen, Tigges https://t.co/QJPMqilMIs
– Stefan Buczko (@StefanBuczko) December 17, 2021
The first key player missing is Gregor Kobel, who suffers from a cold. It seems he shouldn’t have shared his lunch with Mats Hummels as the veteran center-back has caught the virus as well. The Dortmund camp is not reporting that these are infections at Omicron … I’m a little skeptical.
However, without these players, Marco Rose will be forced to field a weakened defense. I expect the coach to avoid a Zagadou-Pongracic duo as the two have never shared the line on their own and are both in precarious form. Look for Emre Can to resume his role as center-back.
After his goal of the weekend, I expect Donaldo Mal-zario to return to the starting line. Although Thorgan Hazard was cleared of what looked like another potentially costly hamstring injury, Marco Rose is expected to look to give the Belgian rest before anything gets worse.
Jude Bellingham is out for the remainder of 2021, having picked up his fifth yellow card for being a little too unprofessional and will be forced to pass this one.
One name from Berlin that I left out was Stevan Jovetic. Ancient Montenegro Manchester city The forward arrived from Monaco this summer and has helped keep his head above water in the relegation fight. The veteran striker has scored five goals in ten appearances for the capital club, and will be looking to increase his score against a league heavyweight like Borussia Dortmund. With a makeshift back line and a second goalkeeper, Marco Rose will have to be particularly wary of the potential for Jovetic to spoil his team’s holiday spirit.
Dortmund have been very hot and cold lately, with poor performances against shoddy teams right in the rearview mirror. It would be great to see the team turn around before the Wpause, but I think Marco Rose will need this time away from the pitch to really align his team’s ambitions. Expect another boring and unnecessarily stressful contest ending in a partially deserved 2-1 for Blacks and Yellows.