Dortmund - With Borussia Dortmund's biggest game in over a decade edging ever closer, fans and players alike could be forgiven for letting their minds wander Wembley's way over the coming days.
However, before Jürgen Klopp sends his team out in London against FC Bayern Munich, they have one Bundesliga game left to iron out any kinks. The match could not provide better preparation for the UEFA Champions League decider, as relegation-threatened 1899 Hoffenheim will also be fighting tooth and nail for victory on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET).
The hosts' need for points may not be as great, with second place in the standings long since secured, yet the recently dislodged Bundesliga champions will not be taking it easy.
“It’s our last home game of the season and of course we want to win, no question,” said Klopp. “I've seen the table and I know what's at stake for Hoffenheim and they have more to play for than us, but we want to pick up our rhythm. We want to end on a high. If we win, then we can go into the final with a completely different mindset.”
To that end, Klopp has been putting , and Co through their paces by increasing the intensity of his side’s training sessions this week. “I don’t think the lads expected it,” the 45-year-old said. “But if I only ask 80 per cent from them, I could get 60 per cent. Normally, we wouldn't work as much as we are at this stage of the season, but we still have some unfinished business.”
Injured midfielder Mario Götze will play no part, but still hopes to be fit to feature against his future employers in London. Other than that, Klopp has a full first team pool to choose from.
Call to arms
81,000 fans will be in attendance to give Dortmund a send-off for the English capital, making the visitors' task even more daunting. Only a victory will do if Hoffenheim are to have any chance of avoiding relegation, but their destiny is not in their own hands beyond that. One of FC Augsburg or Fortuna Düsseldorf would have to lose their final game of the season to offer Hoffenheim a foothold in the top flight.
“We won't get many chances, but we'll need to be fully focused with the few we do get,” said coach Markus Gisdol, whose return of results is evenly spread from his six games in charge. Defender Jannik Vestergaard, who will be tasked with keeping Lewandowski quiet, urged his colleagues to victory with a rallying cry: “I respect them, but I’m not scared. The joy of playing in front of so many fans outweighs any fear.”
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Bender, Kehl - Blaszczykowski, Gündogan, Reus - Lewandowski
Hoffenheim: Casteels - Beck, Abraham, Vestergaard, Johnson - Rudy, Polanski - Salihovic - Schipplock, Roberto Firmino, Volland