Dortmund defiant for Bayern visit
AN injury- ravaged Borussia Dortmund face leaders Bayern Munich today in the Bundesliga’s version of “el clasico”.
Dortmund lost central defender Mats Hummels and left-back Marcel Schmelzer to injury playing for Germany on Tuesday, and are now without the entire back four which featured in May’s Champions League final defeat to Bayern.
Central defender Neven Subotic recently ruptured his cruciate knee ligament, while right- back Lukasz Piszczek also continues to be sidelined. Midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, out since August with a back problem, is another key player missing.
Second- placed Dortmund, now four points behind, desperately need a win – or at least not lose – to avoid their rivals running away.
Dortmund’s acknowledged relative lack of depth compared to Bayern has been exposed by their latest injury misfortunes. The club has responded by signing 34-yearold defender Manuel Friedrich, who has been without a club since leaving Bayer Leverkusen in the off-season.
Friedrich, a former Ger- many international, is expected to go straight into central defence alongside Greece defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
“We will have to improvise,” Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc told KICKER magazine.
Despite his injury problems, coach Juergen Klopp knows his side are an almost irrepressible force at home, and after six wins out of six in the league could set a club record with a seventh victory against Bayern. “We don’t ever raise the white flag before anyone. We have shown many times that we can beat Bayern,” Zorc said.
The match will also see the return of midfielder Mario Goetze, who shocked Dortmund fans with his € 37 million move to Bayern at the end of last season, a transfer record for a German player.
Not all Dortmund fans have forgiven him the move, and the 21-year-old international, who had been with Dortmund since he was nine, could receive an uncomfortable reception.
“I appeal to the fairness of our fans,” Zorc said. “He played successfully and well for us for 12 years, and we received a record transfer sum for him. All these things should be taken into consideration.”
Third- placed Bayer Leverkusen’s trip today to surprise package Hertha Berlin.
On-form Wolfsburg – with four straight wins – are at tailenders Nuremberg, who are still without a victory.
Sixth-placed Schalke are at struggling Eintracht Frankfurt; Eintracht Braunschweig host Freiburg in a meeting between two teams in the relegation zone, and Augsburg welcome Hoffenheim, while tomorrow SV Hamburg take on Hanover, and Werder Bremen greet Mainz. – Sapa-dpa
NEW RECRUIT: Free agent Manuel Friedrich has bolstered injury-hit Borussia Dortmund.