Borussia Dortmund head to bottom-of-the-table Greuther Furth in the Bundesliga on Saturday with very little left to play for this season.
After missing out on the title, the visitors suffered a second consecutive defeat in a seven-goal thriller last weekend, whilst the hosts picked up an impressive point on the road despite already having their relegation confirmed.
With their immediate return to the 2.Bundesliga confirmed weeks ago, Greuther have been enjoying their final few games of the top-flight campaign whilst in lasts in recent weeks.
Saturday sees them host one of the country’s giants in their final outing in front of their own supporters this campaign, so Stefan Leitl’s side will be up for the occasion despite their situation.
Signing off a hugely disappointing season with an impressive display and result against a team of Dortmund’s stature would at least send the home faithful away with a positive memory from a forgettable Bundesliga season, although their struggles were to be expected given the club’s lack of budget and quality in comparison to the rest of the division.
Given the fact that 14 of their 18 points this season have been recorded at home, Greuther will possess a small amount of confidence that they can unsettle their visitors at the weekend, especially given the shaky back line that their opponents have possessed for much of the campaign.
Confidence can also be taken from the previous meeting at Signal Iduna Park back in December, when despite losing 3-0, Greuther were perhaps unfortunate not to have taken something from the game after failing to capitalise on several clear opportunities on the break.
However, poor decision-making and a lack of clinical finishing cost them an upset on that day, and the lack of quality has been evident all season for this poor Greuther side, but they will look to sign off the campaign in style nevertheless.
Meanwhile, after having their failed title challenge confirmed in the defeat in Der Klassiker a week earlier, Dortmund failed to provide a response in a hugely disappointing 4-3 defeat at home to VfL Bochum last time out.
After finding themselves 2-0 down inside eight minutes, Erling Braut Haaland hauled his struggling side level with a brace from the penalty spot before half time, before recording his hat-trick from open play to provide his side with the lead shortly after the hour mark.
Some usual poor BVB defending cost them the points yet again though, as their visitors, who were promoted with Greuther last season, hit back with two late goals to record a memorable victory at Signal Iduna Park.
For Marco Rose and his side though, it was yet another inconsistent performance of the kind that has cost them a realistic shot at Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga crown once again.
Although there appears to be very little to play for across the final two games, Dortmund are yet to confirm second place in the table, with only a five-point gap keeping them above Bayer Leverkusen in third place.
Therefore, Saturday’s visitors will be out to finally confirm the runners-up spot against Greuther, whilst also looking to avoid successive upsets against promoted sides.
With Rose’s job being put under serious pressure at numerous stages of a hugely underwhelming campaign, the former Borussia Monchengladbach boss may also need to avoid the upset if he wishes to remain at the BVB helm beyond the summer.
Greuther Furth Bundesliga form:
Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form:
We say: Greuther Furth 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Despite Dortmund being expected to stroll to a comfortable win on paper, we do not see this being such an easy victory for the visitors here.
The hosts will be full of desire to pick up an impressive result and the visitors displayed little character in their defeat last weekend, whilst the expected absence of Haaland adds to a lengthy injury list, so although Dortmund should come out winners, it is likely to be a tighter game than many expect.