FIRST TEAM
05.11.2018

#TSGBVB preview: “I just want us to leave the pitch at the end as winners”

The final game in the push for the Champions League is upon us. Borussia Dortmund come to the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Saturday (Kick-off: 15:30 CEST). Achtzehn99.de have everything you need to know ahead of the crucial game on matchday 34.

Julian Nagelsmann on...

... the opponents.

“Dortmund are a world-class team who have found a lot of success both domestically and internationally in recent years. Nevertheless, we’ve fared quite well against them recently. We were often even the better team. More often than not we just didn’t get the luck that we needed. We squandered big chances, went a man down or got the worse of the referee’s decisions. I’d go as far as to say that we wouldn’t have lost to them last season if VAR was in play. The way we perform isn’t hugely important to me this weekend - I just want us to leave the pitch at the end as winners.”

... the squad.

“The troubles that Dortmund are having are similar to ours really. We’ve had to fight through a lot of injury issues. The same players that have been out recently are almost certainly not going to be available on Saturday either. Havard Nordtveit has also now been added to that list, after he picked up a knock to the back of his right thigh. It’s not awful, but it could well be serious enough to keep him from playing on Saturday.”

... the sporting situation I.

“We’re going to try and play our way on Saturday and not worry too much about the standings. We did a few small things differently in our preparations this week, but the reasons for that had nothing to do with our play on the pitch. We trained in the stadium on Thursday and played a bit of music during our warm-ups. Our reasoning for doing so was simple: we didn’t want to have any scouts spying on us from the bushes.”

... the sporting situation II.

“I’m proud of what we’ve managed to achieve this season. If we could qualify for the Champions League group stage - that would be historic. We’re going to give everything to try and make that happen. The players are all extremely motivated. If that wasn’t the case, then something would be very wrong (laughs).”

... the sporting situation III.

“We want to win the game. That is the first step. We can’t let it enter our mind that we will leapfrog Dortmund in the standings if we beat them by two goals or more. We’re not going to throw the kitchen sink at them from the outset and then probably find ourselves trailing early on. That doesn’t mean we won’t take risks though - that’s what this team is about.”

... the sporting situation IV.

“Leverkusen are a very good team and could certainly beat Hannover by a big margin, but I’m sure that Hannover will be looking to end their season with a win too. I know Andre Breitenreiter very well and have watched them play a few times this season. They don’t have anything to play for, but that means you can play without pressure and often means you can be more effective. Every player and coach wants to win every game in the Bundesliga - right until the final matchday.”

... the sporting situation V.

“A few weeks ago I was happy that we were four or five points away from the relegation places. Now we’re playing for the Champions League and have the chance to achieve something special. Obviously I’m under a lot of pressure, but we recently founded a cycling group with the rest of the coaches to help with that. Our final ride of the season will be to the market place in Heidelberg. It’s helped me to relax a lot.”

The head to head

TSG have won four of the last 19 games that they have played against Dortmund, with seven games ending in draws. Dortmund have won eight times. TSG have a good home record against Dortmund, winning three times. The spoils were shared four times, with Dortmund coming out on top twice. The last four games have all ended in draws at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena, with the last home win coming seven years ago. It’s high time for three points at home against them.

The opponent’s form

Who knows exactly? No one in Dortmund knows how to describe it. Wins and losses seem to interchange from week to week. A 6-0 drubbing against Bayern, a 2-0 loss in the derby against Schalke, a 3-0 win against Schalke and then a 4-0 smashing of Leverkusen. Consistently inconsistent. Most recently, Mainz beat them 2-1 in Dortmund. TSG are expecting the unexpected.

The key battle

Dortmund have conceded a total of 44 goals this season - the most since the 2007/08 campaign. Now Borussia are coming to Sinsheim to play the second best attacking side in the entire league. Hoffenheim have scored 35 goals at home this season. TSG have to put Dortmund under pressure and force them into making errors. One positive: Marco Reus will not have to be dealt with as he is set not to play.

Match facts and statistics »

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