Matchday 8 of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season has Borussia Dortmund travelling to Bavaria to face FC Ingolstadt. Last year’s promoted side is in a rut in terms of results, having lost six in a row after earning a point on opening day at Hamburger SV.
Last year’s fixture at Audi Sportpark was Ingolstadt’s very first Bundesliga home match. The Black and Yellows did not come bearing gifts, however, beating Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side 4-0. Fans may remember this match as the start of Matthias Ginter’s scoring streak, with the defender starting at right-back for the first time.
Solid home form saw Ingolstadt stay up without much difficulty, but the defection of Austria head coach Hasenhüttl to RB Leipzig has wounded the club. His successor Markus Kauczinski has yet to make his mark, having come over from Karlsruher SC after an up-and-down tenure.
Ingolstadt last won in front of their own fans in April, losing four straight – albeit against strong opposition, with Bayern Munich clinching the Bundesliga title on Matchday 33 of last season and Hertha BSC, Eintracht Frankfurt and 1899 Hoffenheim coming away with all three points this campaign.
With that record and the hosts sitting in last place in the table, fans may expect smooth sailing for the Ruhr side. However, as head coach Thomas Tuchel said in his press conference on Friday, Ingolstadt are not your typical last-ranked team.
The “Schanzer” would have deserved to beat Bayern on their home turf, Tuchel explained, which is backed up by the expected-goals numbers.
Let’s check out the Bayern-Ingolstadt xG map…
<eyes spring out of sockets like a Tex Avery character> pic.twitter.com/uue5XvPBwL
— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) September 17, 2016
Of course, Bayern won 3-1, illustrating Ingolstadt’s problems. They need far too many chances to score goals and have shipped far too many themselves. They are one of the bigger underachievers in the division and could easily have won two or three games already.
That said, Dortmund will obviously still expect to come away with a win. Following their good performance in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, the collective mood of the team has to be on a high.
It also helps that the squad welcomes two returnees from injuries. Both Adrian Ramos and Gonzalo Castro have made the trip to Ingolstadt on Friday and could feature in the match. Castro might even go straight to the starting XI.
Shinji Kagawa did not feel well during Thursday’s public training session but has accompanied his team-mates, while Mario Götze completed his first 90-minute match for the club since his return in the summer in midweek and could thus be rested on Saturday.
Changes will also have to be made in defence, where centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos picked up muscle problems during the week and will miss the match. It seems likely that Ginter will move inside from his spot at right-back, with Lukasz Piszczek coming into the team.
At left-back, Felix Passlack could make way for Joo-Ho Park after suffering from cramps late in the Sporting match. If Tuchel opts for more rotation with the DFB-Pokal match against Union Berlin on Wednesday in mind, Mikel Merino, Sebastian Rode and Dzenis Burnic would seem like the most likely options.
Two players who will not be available are Turkey internationals Nuri Sahin and Emre Mor. The midfielder picked up a blockage in his cervical spine, while Mor has been suspended for two matches after his shove against Sebastian Langkamp in the Hertha match last Friday.
Marco Reus, meanwhile, returned to team training this week but still has a long way to go before he can return to the pitch on matchdays.