One of the more intriguing games on the Bundesliga schedule this weekend features Borussia Dortmund hosting FC Union Berlin. The visiting team is one of three in Germany that has yet to suffer a loss over the first four games of the Bundesliga season. Of course, it’s Borussia Dortmund, one of the traditional heavyweights in Germany, that is favored in this match with a moneyline of -249 compared to Union’s moneyline of +715. There is also a moneyline of +427 for a draw.
The early part of Borussia Dortmund’s season has been nothing if not exciting. BVB has won three of its four matches with a total of 22 goals being scored in those four matches. With three wins and one loss in those matches, they currently sit third in the Bundesliga table, three points behind Wolfsburg and one point behind rival Bayern Munich. However, the Black and Yellows will now have to worry about distractions and extra games after their Champions League campaign started on Wednesday.
As mentioned, Dortmund’s games have been full of goals thus far. They have already netted 13 goals in four matches with Erling Haaland scoring five of them. Somewhat surprisingly, BVB was able to hold onto Haaland this summer, giving them the best striker in Germany this side of Robert Lewandowski. Dortmund also has plenty of other capable goal scorers, although Giovanni Reyna is unavailable until October after getting hurt playing for the United States during the last international break. He had scored twice in Dortmund’s first three games, so his loss is significant.
Meanwhile, Dortmund’s defense has been called into question early in the season with the Black and Yellows conceding nine goals in four games. BVB has conceded at least two goals in all four matches, which points to a systemic problem. Marco Rose, who was a defender during his playing career, will need to find a better way to balance his team’s aggressiveness on the attacking end with a more pragmatic approach to defending because giving up at least two goals in every game isn’t going to be sustainable, even for a club with Dortmund’s attacking prowess.
Union Berlin has slowly worked its way up the Bundesliga hierarchy since gaining promotion to the Bundesliga in 2019. The Iron Ones even qualified for European competition last season, although that can be both a blessing and a curse for a smaller club like Union. As mentioned, the Iron Ones have yet to lose this season, although that’s with just one win and three draws, putting them eighth in the Bundesliga standings at this point of the season.
In four matches, Union Berlin has scored five goals, although all of them have come from just two sources. Taiwo Awoniyi has three goals and Niko GieBelmann has two. The latter is a defender, so the Iron Ones can’t count on him to produce goals regularly, even if they’ve been able to execute on set pieces early in the season. On the bright side, veteran Max Kruse has two assists in four matches, although they need him to find the back of the net after he led the team with 11 goals last season.
To be fair, Union Berlin has looked strong defensively thus far, conceding just four goals in four matches. Only three teams in the Bundesliga conceded fewer goals than Union did last season, so Berlin’s defensive prowess early in the season is expected. In fact, after playing the likes of Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim over the early part of the season, Union’s defensive record is even more impressive.
Needless to say, this matchup brings together two teams that couldn’t be more different. Dortmund has been scoring at a high rate early in the season but is facing one of the toughest defensive teams in Germany. Meanwhile, Union Berlin has trouble scoring goals but will face a team that can’t seem to stop anybody. In terms of overall talent, Dortmund has an obvious advantage. But the Iron Ones aren’t going to be pushed around easily, and with Dortmund being such massive favorites, the value in this match is to split the difference and bet on a draw, which has been the result of most of Union’s games thus far.
Pick: 2-2 draw