High flying Borussia Dortmund host lowly Hannover 96 at Signal Iduna Park, looking to extend their lead atop of the Bundesliga table.
Following a 1-0 victory at RB Leipzig last time out, Lucien Favre's side sit six points over rivals Bayern Munich as they push for first title in eight years. They've lost just once all season in an otherwise faultless campaign so far.
The best start through 18 matches since the 2010-11 season pic.twitter.com/8Fjc9RHkHp— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) 20 January 2019
On the contrary, 17th place Hannover 96 are enduring a torrid season, as they look to stave off relegation back to the second tier. They suffered an 11th defeat of the campaign when they lost on home soil to Werder Bremen on matchday 18.
Here's 90min's breakdown of Saturday's clash.
Where To Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 26 January|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||14:30 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Signal Iduna Park|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport Live Score|
Mario Gotze and Maximilian Phillipp are expected to deputise having started at Leipzig, but midfielder Thomas Delaney is one booking away from a one-match suspension.
Hannover manager Andre Breitenreiter has been plagued by an injury hit squad. Wingers Ihlas Bebou and Noah Sarenren Bazee are the latest doubts, whilst Edgar Prib and Timo Hubers are long term absentees.
|Borussia Dortmund||Burki; Piszczek, Weigl, Diallo, Hakimi; Witsel, Delaney, Sancho, Gotze, Guerreiro; Alcacer.|
|Hannover 96||Esser; Akpoguma, Wimmer, Albornoz; Sorg, Anton, Walace, Schwegler; Muller, Weydandt, Wood.|
Head to Head Record
In 34 encounters between the sides, The Black and Yellows have recorded 17 wins to their opponents nine, with eight ending in stalemate.
Recent meetings have proved tight, including August's corresponding fixture as the sides couldn't be separated in a dour goalless draw.
Dortmund's form home form under Favre has been sensational this term, having dropped just two points all season. The division's top scorers have netted 29 goals in just nine home outings, which included a 7-0 rout over Nurnberg back in September.
Amongst the firing pack, the form of Jadon Sancho has been particularly impressive as he seeks an eighth goal this campaign, whilst striker Paco Alcacer is only behind Eintracht Frankfurt's Luka Jovic in the goal-scoring charts.
WDWDWWWWDWWWWWWLWW— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) 19 January 2019
With just two wins to their name all season, Hannover's problems are as clear as day.
Alarmingly, they have the third worst defensive record, as well as being the third lowest scorers, compounded by the fact that two of their top scorers Bebou and Niclas Fullkrug are both currently sidelined through injury.
Here's how each side has faired in their last five fixtures.
|Borussia Dortmund||Hannover 96|
|RB Leipzig 0-1 Borussia Dortmund (19/01)||Hannover 96 0-1 Werder Bremen (19/01)|
|Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Borussia Monchengladbach (21/12)||Hannover 96 0-1 Fortuna Dusseldorf (22/12)|
|Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-1 Borussia Dortmund (18/12)||SC Freiburg 1-1 Hannover 96 (15/12)|
|Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Werder Bremen (15/12)||Hannover 96 0-4 Bayern Munich (19/12)|
|Monaco 0-2 Borussia Dortmund (11/12)||Mainz 1-1 Hannover 96 (09/12)|
This is a must win game if Favre's outfit want to haul themselves further clear of illustrious counterparts Bayern, in the increasingly fiery title race.
Despite the absence of Reus, Dortmund have a considerable attacking presence as they look to make it 28 points from a possible 30 at home.
Hannover's woeful away record of seven losses are likely to continue on Saturday.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Hannover 96