Borussia Dortmund hopeful that Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard can be fit for VFL Bochum clash

Julian Brandt. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)
Julian Brandt. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images) /

Borussia Dortmund hope to have both Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt available for their game against VFL Bochum this weekend in lieu of Donyell Malen suffering from a viral infection.

When it comes to having players out of action due to injuries this season, Borussia Dortmund is an unfortunate “king among kings” in this respect. Many of the squad’s starting players have been out sick, injured or suspended at some point this season, which has very much had an impact on the level at which the team can perform.

The upcoming clash against VFL Bochum will be a race against time for the likes of Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard to be fit enough to play this weekend, Marco Rose confirmed during his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

Their fitness and availability is made even more crucial due to the fact that Donyell Malen may or may not be available for the game as he currently battles a “viral infection”. It will be disappointing to see Malen out should he miss the game, as the Dutch international has finally begun to find his footing with the club, having scored some important goals in the last few weeks.

In addition to Malen there is also the conundrum of what to do with the place in the starting 11 vacated by Manuel Akanji, who will be out for the remainder of the year after undergoing minor knee surgery. It seems likely that Borussia Dortmund will go with a centre-back pairing of Mats Hummels and Dan-Axel Zagadou for the time being. Zagadou himself is just returning after a very long spell on the sidelines, and is still slowly working his way back to full fitness, so Dortmund will still have to be careful with his minutes on the pitch.

Overall, Borussia Dortmund’s player absences will continue to have an effect on the composition of the starting 11 for the foreseeable future. The upcoming games against Bochum, SpVgg Greuther Fürth and Hertha Berlin shouldn’t, at least on paper, require Dortmund to field their best starting 11. I  personally hope that Malen in particular can play most if not all of these games as they are good opportunities for him to continue to build on his confidence and form before the turn of the year.

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Regardless, one can hope that Marco Rose and Borussia Dortmund are looking at all of these games very seriously. They are must-win games to keep pace with Bayern Munich and to keep the chasing back at bay.