Thomas Tuchel has emphasised the importance of his Borussia Dortmund side staying 'cool' in the super-charged atmosphere of Sunday’s Revierderby with FC Schalke 04.
Tuchel will get a first experience of the unique flavour of the 87th Bundesliga meeting between the Ruhr Valley rivals from the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK dug-out. However, while the Dortmund and Schalke fans will be swept up in the occasion, Tuchel insisted his players must not buy into the white-hot atmosphere.
"We need calm so that we can soak up the special atmosphere tomorrow," said Tuchel, who has closed doors to media and fans for his squad's final training session ahead of the game in order to shelter his players from the pre-match hype.
"We expect the atmosphere to be even more tense than usual, and we have to keep our cool. It's important for us not to get carried away."
'WE'LL MISS REUS'
"Schalke are going to throw everything at us," added Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gündogan, who was born in Gelsenkirchen. "They're really going to be up for it. We have to focus on our strengths. We're ready. The only thing that matters now is to perform on the pitch on Sunday. It's great to be part of this team. We're not done yet. We want to make our fans happy."
With three successive Bundesliga wins and an impressive midweek UEFA Europa League win, Dortmund start favourites, though that status that would have been cemented still more solidly had Marco Reus been available.
The Germany international, who has scored five goals in his last three Bundesliga outings, damaged an adductor muscle in scoring in the 4-0 win over Qäbälä FK on Thursday, and is sidelined for at least a fortnight.
"We’re going to miss Marco Reus,“ Tuchel admitted. "But we’re ready to play without him."