Dortmund - Three wins from three since the turn of the year, eleven goals scored, just two conceded and a home game to boot: on the face of it, the outlook for Borussia Dortmund is decidedly positive ahead of the their match against Hamburger SV on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET).
Furthermore, coach Jürgen Klopp's troops are eager to make amends for losing the reverse fixture 3-2 on Matchday 4 in September. "After that match, we all stood there thinking: 'we'll get these points back the next time we play them,' " Klopp said.
Yet the hosts' squad has been ravaged by a spate of niggling injuries that threatens to derail the Yellow-Blacks' efforts to emulate their barnstorming unbeaten run to the title in the second half of last season. Left-back Marcel Schmelzer and midfielder Kevin Großkreutz are set to miss out through injury and illness respectively, while stars , and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller took no part in team training all week, with Lukasz Piszczek also a doubt.
"We'll have to see what we can come up with," Klopp said of putting together a side with the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg trip to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday at the back of his mind. "We won't make any excuses, we'll just have a team that has trained a bit less than normal," the coach added, urging the sold-out Signal Iduna Park crowd to get behind the side and "tease out the extra couple of per cent" necessary for victory and any lingering hopes of reeling in leaders FC Bayern Munich.
Having overcome Dortmund once already this term, Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink insists his side have nothing to fear. "We're not going there to hide," said the 45-year-old, who will replace suspended Croatian international Milan Badelj with midfield terrier Tomas Rincon in the holding role in front of the back four. "I expect us to give everything for 90 minutes. That's the only way we have a chance," Fink added.
Key to the visitors' plans will be attacking trio of , club top scorer and playmaker . Fink believes the latter, who is feeling his way back after a lengthy injury-enforced absence, is getting ever better. "He's looking sharper each week and will soon be playing the way we're used to."
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Blaszczykowski - Gündogan, Bender, Sahin - Götze, Reus - Lewandowski
Hamburg: Adler - Diekmeier, Bruma, Westermann, Jansen - Rincon, Aogo - Beister, van der Vaart, Son - Rudnevs
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