Playing to the team's strengths against Dortmund

The Bundesliga season is in its second week. After an unlucky 2-1 defeat in Hannover, this week's opponents in the sold-out WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar Arena are the champions Borussia Dortmund. Kick-off is this Saturday at 3.30.

Jürgen Klopp's team will come with confidence, and three points under their belt. Given their explosive performance against Hamburger SV in the opening game of the season, this will surely be no easy task for Hoffenheim. But manager Holger Stanislawski has a good feeling about the match. “Of course we'll be looking to win. But that will only happen if the teams perform to their maximum. We know our own strengths. They are a strong team but so are we,” says ‘Stani.'

Long injury list

The events of last week, particularly the free-kick from which Jan Schlaudraff scored, have naturally been discussed this week in Hoffenheim. “We have analysed it and learned our lessons from it. But I hope that the referee this week will observe his own gestures and signals more sensibly.” When asked what these lessons were, Stanislawski replied with a wink: “We'll stick eight men in front of the ball in future.” Another thing to note from the Hannover match was Hoffenheim's injury list. Andreas Ibertsberger has since managed only light training, while Boris Vukcevic, Matthias Jaissle and Gylfi Sigursson are on their way back, but have not recovered enough to return to the squad.

Working as a team

Defending as a team, switching play quickly and keeping possession are three possible ways of competing with the Champions. “It will be hard to find weaknesses in the Dortmund team,” says Stanislawski. “Their team is outstanding. They've developed continually over the last few years, and are now playing at a level that only Bayern have managed to reach recently.” Indeed it is important that Hoffenheim don't concentrate too much on their opponents, rather that they stick to their own gameplan.

Data and Stats

Dortmund, it must be said, do not find it easy-going against Hoffenheim. In six meetings between the two sides, three games have been drawn and Hoffenheim have won twice; Dortmund have only managed one win in this fixture. Last season Hoffenheim took four points off Dortmund. Indeed, in the match that was drawn 1-1 last season, Jürgen Klopp had referee Wolfgang Stark and Antonio da Silva to thank for scoring a free-kick in second-half injury time.

Match facts and statistics »

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