Friday 19 January 2018: Hertha BSC - Borussia Dortmund
German Bundesliga returned from their winter break last weekend, with Bayern München dominating as usual and leading the pack with 13 points. The rest of the league is, however, as close as it’s ever been: top-10 teams are all within five points.
The last Champions League qualifying place, namely 4th in Bundesliga is currently manned by Borussia Dortmund. Usually considered the biggest challengers for Bayern, Dortmund has somewhat struggled this season, in domestic and continental competitions. They were ousted from Champions League group stage to Europa League by Real Madrid and Tottenham, while in Germany they’ve only won eight of their 18 matches so far.
Their form at home has been terrible, with 4-2-3 record and 14 points, 10th in Bundesliga. On the road, on the other hand they’re 3rd best, with slightly better record of 4-3-2 and 15 points. Already suffering from injuries to key players, Dortmund might be in for another big setback, as the leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sat out last game being touted as potential transfer target to Arsenal. Aubameyang has scored 13 goals in 15 appearances, exactly 1/3 of all Dortmund goals in Bundesliga. The 2nd best goal-scorer, Maximilian Philipp, is out with injury until April so scoring is likely to become harder and harder if the transfer goes ahead.
Playing host to Dortmund on Friday night is Hertha Berlin, who have had a decent season so far, hanging just outside the top-10 at 11th. Not much was expected before the season and that’s what we’ve gotten from Hertha. Their record 6-6-6 tells a story of mid-table mediocrity, although they took a massive scalp just before the break by beating no.2 RB Leipzig 2-3 on the road. Their record at home against teams above in the standings is not great, with recent losses to Frankfurt and Mönchengladbach.
In Accuscore simulations, Dortmund is a clear favorite to win the game – if Aubameyang is playing. Dortmund wins 52.5 % of the simulations, leaving Hertha with 23.5 % winning probability. The game finishes in a draw with 24 % chance.
In these simulations, Dortmund scores on average 2.15 goals against Hertha’s 1.15, with Aubameyang banging in a goal with almost 60% likelihood. Cristian Pulisic and Mario Götze have combined total of four goals this season and both have ~20 % chance to hit the net. For Hertha, it’s most likely Salomon Kalou to score, with 37 % probability.
However, if Aubameyang is sitting out again or already gone, the numbers change dramatically. This is due the fact that Dortmund has virtually no cover for the lone forward, with 18-year-old Alexandre Isak the only pure striker available.
If Aubameyang (and Philipp & Reus) is out and Isak in, Dormund only scores 1.33 goals on average in the simulations. This makes them also lose 8% of their winning probability, with the draw now at 29.6% and Hertha win at 26%.
If there ever was an impact player in football, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is that player for Dortmund. Especially with injuries to other scoring threats, Dortmund’s attack is extremely toothless without the Gabonese striker.
If Aubameyang indeed sits out:
- Hertha to win or draw, 56 % - bet double chance 1X with odds of 1.79 | -127 or better
- Total goals under 2.75, 60.3% - bet under 2.75 with odds of 1.66 | -151 or better
- Or under 2.5 with odds of 1.78 | -128 or better
If Aubameyang plays, just take Dortmund with everything over 1.91 | -109.
More Accuscore analysis, expert picks and predictions available at accuscore.eu!