bundesliga.com is on hand to make you privy to all the pre-match rumblings from both camps ahead of a midweek encounter between two teams in vastly contrasting predicaments….
Jürgen Klopp claimed he “didn’t give a damn” about propping up the league table, but he won’t want to linger at the foot of the standings for long. Yet that is perhaps easier said than done when taking on an Augsburg side vying for European qualification after climbing to fifth following a 3-1 win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
After being forced off at half-time in the 0-0 draw with Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Lukasz Piszczek (thigh) is battling to recover in time to feature, while BVB are hopeful that Ilkay Gündogan (also thigh) will make his first appearance in 2015. Erik Durm has an outside chance of playing but Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender are out.
With Ghana reaching the semi-finals of the , Augsburg will be without Abdul Rahman Baba for a little while longer. Elsewhere, Alexander Esswein is still labouring under the effects of the knee injury he picked up against Hoffenheim, meaning Dong-Won Ji could start against the side he left during the winter.
Dortmund’s focus shifted to stifling their opponents on Saturday, but back on home soil they will be intent on producing a more enterprising performance. Key to achieving that ambition is Marco Reus, who had little to work with in Leverkusen due to BVB’s long-ball policy, but posses the greatest threat to Augsburg’s backline.
With Gündogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan likely to return to the hosts' first XI on Wednesday, the importance of Daniel Baier’s role as the midfield enforcer and protector of the back four cannot be understated. Boasting a near 60 per cent tackle success rate in 2014/15, the 30-year-old epitomises Augsburg’s battling qualities.
Jürgen Klopp (Dortmund head coach): “I don’t think any other team battling relegation has to explain their style of football. It’s about picking up points.“
third signing Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg (l.): “We've made a good start to the Rückrunde, but we’ve got another job to do against Borussia Dortmund."
Neither side have won during an Englische Woche this season, with Dortmund picking up 2-2 draws against both VfB Stuttgart and VfL Wolfsburg and Augsburg suffering defeats in Leverkusen (1-0) and Hanover (2-0). However, while Dortmund are without a win in four, the visitors have picked up six victories in their last eight outings.
BVB have accumulated 17 of a possible 21 points in their seven top-flight encounters with Augsburg, who snatched a draw in their last trip to the Signal Iduna Park when Ji grabbed a 71st-minute equaliser. Matchday 25’s 0-0 draw in the 2011/12 campaign is the only encounter between these two sides that has failed to produce at least four goals.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Sahin - Kampl, Mkhitaryan, Reus - Aubameyang
Augsburg: Manninger - Verhaegh, Callsen-Bracker, Klavan, Feulner - Baier - Bobadilla, Höjbjerg, Altintop, To. Werner - Ji
As entertaining as it is, Dortmund will hope Mats Hummels is not required to make interventions like this against the Bavarians...