Wolfsburg - Two of the Bundesliga's in-form teams meet on Saturday afternoon as VfL Wolfsburg entertain Borussia Dortmund at the Volkswagen Arena (kick-off 15:30 CET).
Klopp: 'Forget about Arsenal'
Both sides are on a run of three straight victories in the league and lie in fifth and second place in the table respectively. The visitors, however, will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing 1-0 defeat to Arsenal FC in the UEFA Champions League.
Wednesday's reverse to the Gunners will have been a bitter pill to swallow for BVB head coach Jürgen Klopp, but the 46-year-old believes it’s vital his players put the loss to the back of their minds. “We have to switch our focus to the league now,” he said. “If we manage to adopt the right attitude, we can turn the defeat into something positive. Wolfsburg have a strong team, but we believe we can take something from the game.”
An increasingly important member of that team is former BVB player Ivan Perisic, who scored nine goals in 42 appearances for Dortmund between 2011 and 2013. The Croatian netted his first of the 2013/14 campaign in Wolfsburg’s 3-0 win over Werder Bremen on Matchday 11 and has started to hit form in recent matches. “He'll be full of confidence,” said Klopp. “He hasn’t lost any of his ability with his feet or in the air. He’s an incredibly good player.”
Kehl on the brink of return
Klopp has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the clash at the Volkswagen Arena and could field the same eleven that started against Arsenal in midweek. Veteran midfielder Sebastian Kehl could return to the squad following a six-week absence with an ankle ligament injury. “He's done very well. The international break will give him extra time to recuperate,” explained Klopp. “Whether he will play a part on Saturday remains to be seen.”
Wolfsburg, meanwhile, will be without Brazilian playmaker Diego for the match against Dortmund. The 28-year-old picked up a stomach muscle injury in the Wolves’ victory at Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 11. “It’s a shame that our best player is missing for a game like this, but I have complete confidence that the rest of the team can step up to the plate,” said coach Dieter Hecking.
Hecking's team have not dropped a single point since Matchday 8's defeat to Eintracht Braunschweig and the 49-year-old is confident his team can maintain their recent run against Dortmund. “We not only want to put in a good performance against BVB, we want emerge with a successful result,” he explained. “We have to play the way we have been and try to avoid making silly errors, because Dortmund usually punish you straight away.”
The Wolfsburg coach doesn't believe Wednesday's defeat in Europe will affect die Schwarz-Gelben's performance on Saturday. “I don’t expect them to be knocked off their stride,” he said. “They’re used to performing at the highest possible level in every competition. My players want to do the same and they all understand this is a huge chance for VfL to be successful.”
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Ochs, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez - Medojevic, Luiz Gustavo - D. Caligiuri, Arnold, Perisic - Olic
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Großkreutz, Sokratis, Hummels, Schmelzer - S. Bender, Sahin - Aubameyang, H. Mkhitaryan, Reus - Lewandowski
Enjoy this video on Borussia Dortmund's Polish record record breaker Robert Lewandowski, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: