A player with “questionable” status is nothing unfamiliar to BetAnySports customers or American sports fans. And those who are interested in “investing” in Saturday’s Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin are keenly interested in whether young superstar Erling Haaland is going to make post.
The 19-year-old striker suffered what has been referred to as a knee ligament strain against Bayern Munich, colliding with referee Tobias Stieler. He was held out of the last game against Paderborn, which didn’t necessarily set off alarms. But missing Saturday’s game, compounded by a couple of other notable player absences, starts to scare fans of the BVB.
That is because there are Champions League spots up for grabs for next year, and it is quite possible that with a late-season slump, Dortmund could find itself out of the running.
Remember, while Bayern Munich is seven points ahead in the standings with 67 points, Borussia Dortmund has nothing sewn up despite being clear in second place. With 60 points, they are only just ahead of RB Leipzig (58), Borussia Mönchengladbach (56), and Bayer Leverkusen (56). Out of the second through fifth-place squads, only three of them will get to Champions League competition.
Haaland got to practice on Thursday, although he only stayed involved for about 40 minutes. Regarding his availability, coach Lucien Favre told reporters, “We’ll see. He hasn’t done much for a week, of course, since he was slightly injured.”
Some reports indicate that he is preparing to play, but may not be able to; others say that he won’t be in the lineup.
In the Bundesliga betting odds placed on Saturday’s game at BetAnySports (with a 12:30 PM ET start time), Dortmund, the home team, is solidly favored:
Hertha Berlin +674
Borussia Dortmund -256
Hertha Berlin +1.5 (-114)
Borussia Dortmund -1.5 (-101)
Under 3.5 (-113)
Over 3.5 (-102)
Haaland’s prospective absence isn’t the only thing that Favre has to worry about. Marco Reus, an international star and the team’s captain, has had muscle strains and isn’t even working out with the team. And another standout, Mats Hummels, a World Cup veteran, was issued his fifth yellow card of the season against Paderborn and is going to be suspended for this match.
It was a good thing for Dortmund that Jadon Sancho stepped up to the plate. Upon the team’s return to action, Favre was going slowly with him because he was coming off a calf strain. But they needed his firepower in the absence of Haaland, and he delivered.
Things may have gotten off to a relatively slow start against bottom-feeding Paderborn, but things escalated as the game progressed. BVB, coming off the disappointment against Bayern, charged hard and registered a 6-1 victory. Thorgan Hazard, who was brought forward to replace Haaland, scored the team’s first goal, but Sancho took it from there.
In the process, Sancho became the youngest player to reach 30 career goals in the Bundesliga, although it has taken him three seasons to do it. He also picked himself up a yellow card, as he too off his jersey on the field after the first goal and displayed a “Justice for George Floyd” inscription on his undercard – honoring the Minneapolis man killed during a police apprehension.
We aren’t expecting Haaland to be able to go on Saturday. And so it would seem obvious that Dortmund will lean once again on Sancho, who like Haaland is coveted by Manchester United, which is slumping this season in the Premier League. But this time around they’re not facing a team headed for relegation; instead, they have Hertha, which has 38 points and is in the first half of the standings (ninth place).
And they have not been bad at all since returning, with shutout road wins over Union Berlin (4-0) and Augsburg (2-0), a home shutout of seventh-place Hoffenheim and a 2-2 draw with RB Leipzig. That’s pretty good form, actually.
And maybe there’s going to be some stability for a change. The club has had no less than four different coaches, including former United States national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Bruno Labbadia was appointed during the break, and there have been changes on the advisory board as well. So Hertha has a fighting chance, and it may not be the most unforeseen thing in the world for them to come out of this game with a tie (+439), which also makes the goal spread attractive.
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