Borussia Dortmund will be looking to put their disappointing Europa League exit behind them when they return to Bundesliga action at Augsburg on Sunday.
The visitors remain well in the title race despite their poor showings in Europe, whilst the hosts continued their poor run of form by suffering another defeat last weekend to leave them fighting for survival.
Augsburg head into matchday 24 on the back of a disappointing run that has seen them win just once in their last eight matches either side of the winter break in Germany.
A 2-1 defeat at home to European hopefuls Freiburg last weekend was the latest of their setbacks, despite a relatively promising display from Markus Weinzierl’s side.
After falling behind inside four minutes, Michael Gregoritsch was on hand to net his fourth goal in his last six Bundesliga fixtures to equalise for Fuggerstadter just 12 minutes later.
However, Augsburg found themselves behind once more before the 30-minute mark, during a thrilling start to the game at the WWK Arena.
Despite some bright moments during the second half, Augsburg could not claw themselves back level for a second time, with Freiburg inflicting on them a fourth defeat of 2022 already.
That result leaves Sunday’s hosts occupying the relegation playoff spot prior to the weekend of action in the Bundesliga, with three points separating them from Stuttgart in the automatic relegation zone, but just one point from Hertha Berlin in safety directly above them.
A visit of title-challenging Dortmund at the weekend is therefore far from ideal, but following two victories in their last three meetings with BVB on home soil, Weinzierl will be reminding his side of their capabilities when they perform at their highest levels.
Meanwhile, Dortmund’s thumping 6-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga last Sunday ensured the six-point gap between themselves and Bayern Munich at the summit was not extended further.
Marco Reus netted twice and assisted three further goals against his former club, which also saw manager Marco Rose haunt his former employers in a comfortable Borussen derby victory.
The result maintained BVB’s fine domestic start to the New Year, with Sunday’s visitors winning five of their six Bundesliga outings since returning from the winter break.
However, cup performances have halted Dortmund’s overall momentum in 2022, with a humiliating DFB-Pokal exit at the hands of 2.Bundesliga side St Pauli being followed up by their exit from the Europa League at the hands of Scottish champions Rangers on Thursday evening.
Heading to Ibrox on the back of the shocking 4-2 defeat at Signal Iduna Park the prior week, Dortmund fell behind midway through the first half courtesy of a James Tavernier penalty.
Despite Jude Bellingham and Donyell Malen hauling their side into the lead on the night, a second from Tavernier before the hour mark condemned Rose’s side to an early exit from Europe in a 6-4 defeat on aggregate.
With only Bundesliga fixtures remaining between now and May, Dortmund can at least take positives from the fact that they can shift their full focus to their attempts of ending Bayern’s domination in recent years, with the Bavarians aiming for a 10th consecutive top-flight title this campaign.
Augsburg Bundesliga form:
Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form:
Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions):
We say: Augsburg 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Were Haaland fit enough to play a big part on Sunday, we would be predicting a comfortable Dortmund victory, but with their talisman likely to be missing, these are the types of games that Dortmund tend to slip up in.
The visitors coped well without Haaland in their demolition of Gladbach last week, and if they can replicate that clinical form on Sunday, then they should have enough in them to see off a struggling Augsburg side.