Dort­mund de­fi­ant for Bay­ern visit

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE -

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.

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