BVB have won eight of their last 11 matches against Bremen - more than against any other side in the Klopp era - with the last five meetings between the two teams all ending in victory for the Westphalians.
'Ready for a battle'
Despite their impressive record against die Grün-Weißen, Klopp is expecting a tough match against Robin Dutt’s charges. “Bremen will be determined to put up a fight to win over their fans,” said the 46-year-old in his pre-match press conference. “We have to be ready for everything and make sure we focus on our own objectives. If we’re not ready for a battle, we won’t win this game.”
Klopp is confident his players are up to the task, however: “We have the ability to cause Bremen problems they won’t be able deal with just by putting in a battling performance,” he said. “When we’ve got the ball, we have to try and get into positions that are likely to hurt them. We have to pull out all the stops and, above all, play good football.”
Klopp is yet to decide who will line up in defence at the Weser-Stadion on Saturday. Sven Bender could revert to centre-back in the absence of Mats Hummels, who has been ruled out for two weeks with a foot injury, while Lukas Piszczek is also vying for a starting berth after making his first league appearance of 2014 against Eintracht Braunschweig seven days ago. “We’ve got several players working their way back into the fold, including ‘Piszczu’, so we’ve got plenty of options to choose from,” said the BVB coach.
Klopp’s opposite number Robin Dutt, meanwhile, has revealed that vice-captain Aaron Hunt is likely to return following a knee problem that forced the 27-year-old to miss Matchday 19’s defeat to FC Augsburg. “Aaron is in good shape and I expect him to be available for Saturday,” said Dutt, who is set to hand winter-signing Ludovic Obraniak his debut on Saturday. “He’s settled in very well and made a good impression in training this week,” he added.
Defeat to Augsburg last time out left Bremen hovering just three points above the relegation play-off place, but Dutt was refusing to push the panic button just two games into the second half of the season. “If people think we’re involved in a relegation scrap, they’re not completely wrong,” admitted the former Bayer 04 Leverkusen tactician. “But for a club with our objectives, it’s not unusual to experience more highs than lows in a single season.”
In fact, Bremen have suffered almost twice as many defeats than victories in the league this term, but Dutt’s charges have shown they are capable of rubbing shoulders with the best in the division, having beaten Leverkusen in their final match of 2013. “If you have a bad day, you lose to Braunschweig, if you’re in form, you beat Bayer Leverkusen,” said the coach. “That’s the Bundesliga for you!”
Bremen: Wolf - Gebre Selassie, Prödl, Caldirola, Schmitz - F. Kroos, Makiadi - Elia, Hunt, Obraniak - Petersen
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Sokratis, S. Bender, Schmelzer - Kehl, Sahin - Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus - Lewandowski