Table leaders Borussia Dortmund will be without Belgian duo Thorgan Hazard and Axel Witsel as they head to the capital to face Union Berlin for the first time in Bundesliga history.
The 26-year-old winger suffered a rib injury during Dortmund’s 3-1 win over Cologne and will be sidelined for several weeks.
Hazard’s absence could create an opening for summer signing Julian Brandt, who has impressed as a substitute this season so far and would be an obvious choice to fill the vacancy in the starting XI.
BVB manager Lucien Favre is not underestimating his newly-promoted opponents, saying in a pre-match press conference: “I’ve watched the new Union team; they have a few new players, are well organised, have a lot of power and are very athletic.”
English winger Jadon Sancho, who has just been named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, is likely to feature alongside Spanish striker Paco Alcacer – both having scored in Dortmund’s opening two games.
Midfielder Witsel has suffered an injury to his adductor is therefore ruled out.
“Yesterday evening the club received a diagnosis on the injury suffered by Axel Witsel. Unfortunately Axel has torn a muscle in the adductor area,” Dortmund said in a statement.
The club didn’t confirm how long the 30-year-old Belgian international would be out of action.
Union Berlin will have to raise their game to challenge the Black and Yellows, having drawn at Augsburg last time and suffering a resounding 4-0 loss to Leipzig prior to that.
Head coach Urs Fischer did not sound defeated in a pre-match press conference however, highlighting the similarities in the two teams’ style of play.
“When it comes to speed and transitions, both teams are similar,” he said.
“In movement up front, they are very similar teams. We want to improve on the aspects from Leipzig against Borussia Dortmund.
“It’s the same as we’ve said before, we want to develop and learn from our mistakes. You take things from the last game, then observe the individual development of the players.”
Fischer will be without centre-back Keven Schlotterbeck, who serves a two-match suspension for his challenge on Augsburg’s Florian Niederlechner.
Fellow centre-back Florian Hubner will miss out through injury, with midfielder Grischa Promel sidelined for the same reason.
Nineteen-year-old Maurice Opfermann Arcones is still out due to illness, whereas midfielder Christian Gentner has returned to training and could participate.
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