One game to go before the last international break of the season, one game to go before the all-important closing stages of the season. Borussia Dortmund will be put to the test on Saturday in Berlin's Olympiastadion, and will hope to return home with a vital three points in the bag.
At the end of the last calendar year, Borussia Dortmund broke a club record that had stood for eight years when they strung together a run of five consecutive away wins. Since then, BVB have only managed to win away from home on one occasion (in Leipzig), with no wins in the last three away matches (two draws, one defeat). It's about time the Black & Yellows' away form improved.
Sporting director Michael Zorc is of the opinion that the ''run of not-so-great results,'' came to an end with the 3-1 win last weekend against VfB Stuttgart: ''We need a top performance to pass the test in Berlin and come away with a win. We want to do absolutely everything it takes to become Bundesliga champions. You need the right results if you want to achieve that.''
In Berlin, the Black & Yellows will face an opponent ''who are unpleasant to play against,'' (Julian Weigl) and who tend to be at their best against the big teams. The Berliners have made life difficult for and picked up points against Bayern Munich (beating them 2-0 and narrowly losing 1-0 and 3-2 a.e.t in the cup), Borussia Mönchengladbach (4-2 and 3-0 wins) and Eintracht Frankfurt (a 1-0 win). ''They're really tough to play against. We found that out when we drew 2-2 at home with them,'' stated Lucien Favre. The match he alluded to was the only home game of the first half of the season which BVB failed to win. ''They're a dangerous side. They play very compact and then when they win the ball back they move it forwards at speed. We need a big performance.'' The Swiss head coach has not just prepared his team for the 3-4-1-2 formation which the Berlin outfit have favoured recently, but also for ''several other systems which they can play.''
''It changes nothing for us,'' said Favre in reference to the changed circumstances which his team now find themselves in: for the first time since Matchday 5, Borussia are no longer leading the pack; instead, they are the ones chasing the league leaders. ''We always want to win our next game and we haven't changed anything in our preparation.''