bundesliga.com looks ahead to an encounter that never fails to entertain…
With just three points separating Borussia Dortmund in eighth and FC Schalke 04 in fifth, victory for either side would be a major step towards securing a place in Europe next season. However, both these teams could end the weekend in the bottom half of the table if results go against them on Matchday 31.
Apart from Niklas Süle(r.), who is still recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury, and the suspended Tobias Strobl, Markus Gisdol has a full squad to choose from for the visit of die Schwarz-Gelben. The 45-year-old is likely to revert to a 4-5-1 formation, with Anthony Modeste as the lone striker.
Lukasz Piszczek (ankle), Oliver Kirch, Kevin Großkreutz (both knee) and Nuri Sahin (groin) remain sidelined, while Roman Weidenfeller (l.) (knock) is also doubtful. Ilkay Gündogan, who confirmed on Thursday that he won’t sign a new deal with the club, is set to start alongside Sven Bender in midfield.
With the hosts having scored just once in their last two league games on home soil, the onus will be on Modeste to deliver the goods this weekend. The Frenchman has scored six goals this season, including two in his last three appearances, and will fancy his chances of continuing his fine run of form against an inconsistent BVB backline.
Markus Gisdol, head coach: “I’m hoping for a fantastic atmosphere. We need the support of our fans [to get a positive result against Dortmund]. We can’t read too much into Dortmund’s victory against Bayern in the DFB Cup. We only have to look at our own games against them to see what's required on Saturday!”
Jürgen Klopp, head coach: “It’s too early to say who will be involved. We can’t afford to take our foot off the pedal at this stage of the campaign. We’ve got a very tough end to the season – our match against Bremen [on the final day] could be a real final. I’m going to miss everything here, but I’m not too nostalgic… yet!”
Dortmund come into this game with the wind in their sails, having beaten SC Paderborn 07 and Eintracht Frankfurt in their last two league matches. Hoffenheim, meanwhile, ended a three-match losing streak with victory at beleaguered Hannover 96 last weekend.
BVB currently shade the head-to-head record by five wins to four (four draws) and have won the last three encounters with the Baden-Württemberg outfit. Hoffenheim’s last victory over Dortmund – a sensational 2-1 victory on the final day of the 2012/13 season – saved the club from direct relegation to Bundesliga 2.
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Beck, Abraham, Bicakcic, Toljan – Rudy, Schwegler, Polanski – Volland, Firmino – Modeste
Dortmund: Langerak – Durm, Sokratis, Hummels, Schmelzer – Bender, Gündogan – Blaszczykowski, Reus, Mkhitaryan - Aubameyang