The winter break is now over and the league leaders are set to return to domestic action with a trip to Leipzig. Perhaps a good omen for Borussia Dortmund ahead of the restart is that they have haven't lost the opening match of a calendar year since 2004. In the intervening 14 years there have been eight wins and six draws − outcomes they would likely be satisfied with late on Saturday evening.
The atmosphere in the changing rooms is relaxed. "I'm looking forward to getting going again. The break of seven, eight days was short," said head coach Lucien Favre. Sporting director Michael Zorc added: "The squad is eagerly anticipating the restart and we hope that, in terms of performances, we can continue where we left off in December. To this end, the most important thing will be to return to competition mode. We need to continue exactly as we did in the first half-season and take the same approach."
Favre, whose side will be up against "a very good team" in Leipzig on Saturday, warned his charges to be alert to the danger posed by long balls forward and quick link-up play after the opposition have won the ball back.
Aside from Manuel Akanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou, the whole squad will be available. Abdou Diallo "has been back training with the team since midway through the training camp and has done everything with them. He'll definitely be in the squad," said Favre, who also has Paco Alcácer fit again after recovering from a torn thigh muscle. "He hasn't played a game over the full 90 minutes but he'll definitely be involved." (br)