At 8.55 pm local time, the Borussia Dortmund players walked onto the pitch of Petrovski Stadium that appeared in good condition for this time of year and these latitudes. Among those taking part in the final training session on this “carpet” - apparently a mix of natural and artificial grass - were Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski.
Jürgen Klopp is confident to have his top striker (15 goals in 25 Champions League matches) available on Tuesday night. “He was able to recover yesterday, ” the BVB coach said on Lewandowski at the pre-game press conference. He’s not so sure about Mats Hummels. “He will be training, and then we decide what we do,” said Klopp before the final training session.
He was joined at the press conference by his skipper Sebastian Kehl who admitted, “We are angry at our performance last weekend. We threw a game away. But we have to forget about it. Tomorrow is Champions League, and we are looking forward to it.”
Kehl sees parallels to last year’s last-16 clash with Shakhtar Donetsk who were also lacking match practice, and therefore also unpredictable, and who had “a lot of good individual players – just like St Petersburg.” He said: “It would be great if we could find a successful solution again as last year.” After a 2-2 draw in the first leg – with BVB’s goals coming from Lewandowski and Hummels – BVB won the second leg 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals. “St Petersburg are an awkward side to play against. We want to go through, and we will need to stretch ourselves to achieve this.”
Klopp revealed that he had the Russian league leaders watched during their training camp in Israel, but what most impressed him was their display against Atletico Madrid, “the dark horse to win the Champions League,” in the group stages – one reason why the BVB coach is expecting to face “a strong footballing side.”