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Hertha Berlin v Dortmund (Fri 7.30pm)
Borussia Dortmund started 2018 with a goalless draw against Wolfsburg last Sunday but the main talking point since then has been about a man who was missing.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dortmund’s top scorer, was absent from an important team meeting on Saturday, the latest occasion that the Gabonese striker has stepped out of line, leading to coach Peter Stöger suspending him from the squad.
“I don’t recognise him anymore,” said a downtrodden Michael Zorc, the club’s sporting director.
In his absence, Dortmund still should have beaten Wolfsburg. On his first start, English 17-year-old winger Jadon Sancho hit the post, so too did fellow teenage prodigy Alexander Isak whilst Andrey Yarmolenko came up with a contender for miss of the season. From a Hertha point of view then, this could be a good time to play Dortmund.
They were lacking a little bit of fortune last weekend when Niklas Stark’s bizarre own goal ensured they were defeated 1-0 at Stuttgart. That was despite having controlled the game for the most part with Salomon Kalou missing an open goal.
They’ll be happy to allow Dortmund the majority of possession but they are still effective at creating good chances. It’s just a case of whether, unlike in Stuttgart, they can take them. Usually, Hertha are one of the best chance converters in the division.
Aubameyang hasn’t travelled to Berlin for the game but the hullaballoo around his possible departure makes you think Hertha are good value to win this evening.
Munich-born Raphael Honigstein writes about football for Germany’s biggest broadsheet, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Guardian, ESPNFC and his tips appear here thanks to our football partner at MrFixitsTips, Unibet. They're making a big splash in the UK betting scene and if you join them today you can claim up to £30 in Welcome Bonuses when you deposit and place your first bet.