Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that Axel Witsel will miss their trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday in the Bundesliga.
The Belgian midfielder sustained an adductor injury during Dortmund’s 3-1 win over VfB Stuggart last weekend in the Bundesliga, despite playing the full 90 minutes.
The victory at Signal Iduna Park ended a run of back-to-back defeats for BVB, who were knocked out of the Champions League last week by Tottenham in a 4-0 aggregate loss in their last-16 tie.
Lucien Favre’s side came up with a superb response to their recent setbacks last weekend, however, by securing a comfortable 3-1 win over Stuggart after three second-half goals from Marco Reus, Paco Alcacer and Christian Pulisic.
But it was just Dortmund’s second win in their last five league outings and proved to not be enough for them to hold on to top spot after Bayern Munich’s 6-0 thrashing of Wolfsburg enabled them to snatch the lead of the Bundesliga on superior goal difference.
Now BVB’s hopes of returning to first-place heading into the international break have suffered an early blow due to Witsel’s injury.
“Borussia Dortmund will make the trip to Berlin without Axel Witsel. The Belgian suffered a tear to an adductor muscle during last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Stuttgart,” read a statement on the club website.
“Head coach Lucien Favre hopes that the midfielder will be back in action after the international break.’
“The coach is yet to decide if Witsel’s absence will lead to a change in system, or whether a replacement – most likely Thomas Delaney – will be the preferred option. There a few considerations, but nothing definite at the moment.”
Witsel joined Dortmund last summer from Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian for a reported deal of €20m and has already made 35 appearances in all competitions, while directly contributing towards six goals in the process.
BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke even recently labelled the Belgium international as one of their best signings in the past decade.
After being sidelined with an illness, Julian Weigl and Omer Toprak have returned for Dortmund this Saturday.