Dortmund - Having surrendered top spot to FC Bayern München for the first time this season prior to the international break, Borussia Dortmund are aiming to get back to winning ways against Hannover 96 on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET).
'Really want to win'
Head coach Jürgen Klopp is determined to set the record straight following such a profligate display in defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach last time out, but does not expect an easy time of it against the fifth-placed Reds.
"The last game was extraordinary," recalled Klopp after watching his side go down to their first league defeat of the campaign. "In some ways, we played as well as we ever have before, but we still lost 2-0. We really, really want to win again [...] It's going to be a challenge."
Klopp's task hasn't been helped by a spate of injuries to a handful of key players, although the international break has afforded the afflicted players some much-needed rest. As Klopp optimistically told journalists at his routine pre-match press conference: "It could have been worse."
Three-way title tilt
That's not to say the situation will necessarily improve anytime soon, with second-placed Dortmund, currently a point behind league leaders Bayern, in danger of falling even further off the pace, should Sami Hyypia's Bayer 04 Leverkusen get the better of 1899 Hoffenheim in Sinsheim on Friday night.
Yet with Marco Reus and Nuri Sahin set to return to the fold, Dortmund will be confident of making a clean break in the race for Bundesliga honours against a Hannover side that have only won at the Signal Iduna Park twice in the last ten years.
"We know that Dortmund are very strong at home, but there is no reason why we shouldn't be optimistic," explained Hannover defender Sebastien Pocognoli, for whom this past fortnight has been no less taxing. The 26-year-old was part of the Belgium squad that recently secured their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and can now look forward to joining a whole host of Bundesliga stars in Brazil next summer.
"It affects you physically when you've been on a long journey," Pocognoli continued. "It's important to recuperate and get plenty of sleep. I'm really pleased that we got through a difficult group [...] We have an important game in Dortmund on Saturday and we want to get at least a point, even if most people don't think we're capable of it. We should have the confidence to know that we can play well. At the end of the day, we've already got 13 points."
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Durm, Subotic, Sokratis, Großkreutz - Sahin, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus - Lewandowski
Hannover 96: Zieler - Sakai, Marcelo, Schulz, Pocognoli - Stindl, Sane, Andreasen, Huszti - Bittencourt (Diouf), Sobiech
Find out what Marco Reus brings to the Dortmund table on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: