#BVBTSG preview: "No mind games"
Julian Nagelsmann on...
... the opposition:
Dortmund are a very, very good team who compete in continental competitions every year and will do again next season. They are always in with a shout of being champions. These year they had a bit of a bad run and because of that they fell a little bit down the standings.
... the personnel:
The team us looking fresh and fit in training, and we have no injuries. Everyone is available for Saturday.
... the sporting situation:
The match means a lot for me personally and for us as a team. Whether it is the most significant game of my coaching career or not, I do not know, as there have been a few in previous years, too. But with those, the pressure was more negative, where it is far more positive here. We are looking forward to the game. We have worked hard for this chance and to be in this position. Looking back over the season so far, every match had its importance: without the wins, the draws and the points we have picked up along the way, this game would not have any significance at all.
... more on the sporting situation:
Both teams want to win the game. Dortmund will want to grab this chance as much as we will. We have our ideas and plans. In the first match against them this season we did well over long stretches and were committed in our challenges. In terms of our play without the ball, we have to decide on whether we push them back and put pressure on the ball or aim more to block off the areas that they like to play in behind the line. There is also the question of the space we like to play in. Dortmund are 36 games without loss at home, they do not make many mistakes and concede few goals, but there are a few things they do not do perfectly.
... further thoughts on the match:
For me it makes little difference whether we are at home or away. It does not my approach or way of thinking. I believe that Dortmund play better at home than away at the moment, considering the home record and the impact of the 80,000 attendances. In my eyes, they are under more pressure going into this game than us. I know that BVB think the same - there are no mind games here, just my honest assessment.
... travelling to Dortmund:
I was there in 2013 when we won the final game of the season 2-1 in Dortmund. Of course I would like to replicate the result, but not the course of events. We had a lot of luck that day, and were fortunate that the Football Gods were smiling down on us. In all honesty, Dortmund that day had the chances that could have put them six or seven ahead. Then we won the penalties, there was a red card to the 'keeper and Großkreutz had to go in goal and we took advantage. Such things do not happen every game, and we cannot hope to be lucky. On Saturday it is important that we do not surrender a lot of chances.
The two sides have so far met seventeen times in the Bundesliga. Dortmund have been triumphant six times, TSG four times and seven have been draws. TSG have won just once in Dortmund back in May 2013, winning 2-1, in a game that was possibly even more important than Saturday's clash. Three of the last four meetings have ended in draws. Last season, BVB beat TSG 3-1. Sebastian Rudy put Hoffenheim ahead after 25 minutes but was sent off just short of the hour mark, and goals in the 80th, 85th and 90th minutes gave BVB the win.
The opposition's form:
BVB reached the Champions League quarter final and despite making a really strong account of themselves in tough circumstances, they were knocked out in the quarter final by AS Monaco. They overcame FC Bayern in the DFB-Pokal semi final, winning 3-2 in a tense game at the Allianz Arena to reach the final. They are unbeaten at home since April 2015. Last time out they were dominant against 1. FC Köln but were unable to get on the scoresheet, drawing 0-0.
The key duel:
With 31 games played, TSG sit third with 58 points, one ahead of BVB in fourth with 57. Dortmund have a slightly stronger goal difference, though, with +30 compared to TSG's +26. Both teams have won 51% of their overall duels, with over 82% average pass completion rate through the team, with just a 0.7% divide between their overall chance conversion and 0.3% in their respective tackle success rates. In other words, it looks like a game that will have to be divided on the small margins. Minimal mistakes, decisive passing, fast countering and committed tackling.