Fürth - Reigning Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund entertain their second division counterparts and top-flight newcomers Greuther Fürth on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET), although both sides have struggled to recapture their title-winning form of late.
The gulf between the two clubs is still considerable, however, with twelve points and 13 places separating them. Nevertheless, they are both now dining at German football’s top table, and in 90 minutes of Bundesliga football, anything can happen - as the visitors found out the hard way against Gladbach last week.
“It’s going to be extremely hard work - Fürth are slowly finding their feet in the Bundesliga,” warned Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp. The Yellow-Blacks witnessed first-hand just how strong Fürth can be in the semi-final of last season's DFB Cup, when only a last-gasp goal from Ilkay Gündogan in extra-time took the Westfalians through to the final, which they won. "We should remember that cup game because it was no walk in the park," recalled the 45-year-old.
Klopp was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief on Thursday when his international stars returned from their midweek exertions with a touch of tiredness, but no injuries. , and all went the distance for Germany in a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands, while Poland’s 3-1 loss to Uruguay actually provided Jakub Blaszczykowski with a useful 20-minute run-out. "He’s ready for a place in the squad,” revealed Klopp. “Before his injury, he gave an added dimension to our game.”
Fürth happy to travel
The match will have added spice for , who will be doing his level best to ensure the club he actually belongs to do not beat the one he is currently playing for. The Germany Under-21 international is on loan at the Clover Leaves for the duration of the season and, due to the suspension of Thomas Kleine, is set to make his starting debut this Saturday. "I want to transform my joy into a positive performance," he said, before revealing he has already exchanged text messages with Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels, warning them to watch out for him in the penalty area. Despite being a defender, Sobiech has already scored three times this season. "The goals give me even more of a lift," the 21-year-old said.
Fürth could certainly do with a boost right now and getting one on the road, in front of nearly 80,000 fans, is not as far-fetched an idea as it may at first seem. The Bavarians have picked up six of their seven Bundesliga points on their travels this term, and having the right to play in venues such as the Signal-Iduna-Park is what they spent all last term working so hard to achieve.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - S. Bender, Gündogan - Reus, Götze, Großkreutz - Lewandowski
Greuther Fürth: Grün - Nehrig, Sobiech, Mavraj, Schmidtgal - Fürstner, Prib - Sararer, Edu, Stieber - Asamoah