The pre-match press conference attended by head coach Lucien Favre and sporting director Michael Zorc on Thursday was an unusual one: it was the first since the start of March, and was conducted virtually in compliance with the distancing and hygiene rules.

The questions had been sent in by journalists beforehand and were read out by media officials Sascha Fligge and Daniel Stolpe. "We're totally enforcing the DFL's hygiene concept," declared Michael Zorc, who additionally revealed that the players and the team behind the team have "thankfully all tested negatively so far".

BVB without Emre Can and Axel Witsel

Borussia Dortmund are ready for the 156th Ruhr derby against FC Schalke 04 on Saturday (kick-off at 15:30 CET, live on Sky and the Net Radio). "I think everyone's delighted to be able to play football and do their jobs again," said Zorc. However, the Black & Yellows will be without two important midfielders – Axel Witsel and Emre Can – due to injury. "They're definitely out," explained Lucien Favre, adding: "We hope that they'll be back on track as quickly as possible." The duo will be joined on the sidelines by Dan-Axel Zagadou and Marco Reus.

Zorc reflected on "a difficult period when we didn't know whether and how things would continue. Since the schedule has been set, and since it's been possible to do football-specific training again, you can see that the joy has returned to the team." There is now a "clear focus on our objective: to get off to a successful re-start at home to Schalke".

Five substitutions are "a very good idea"

Meanwhile, the head coach welcomed the new rule "that five substitutions can be made. That's a very good idea. And it's necessary. All teams – without exception – will not be at their optimal fitness. It's the first match following a two-month break. We haven't played any friendly fixtures."

The Black & Yellows are not only preparing to take on a motivated opponent, but for their second game behind closed doors too – at least that's an experience they have over their Royal Blue counterparts. "It's unique without spectators," said Favre. "It's a question of mentality." Michael Zorc added: "It's strange; a derby without spectators hurts your heart to think about. When our supporters aren't there, when the South Stand isn't there, then we need more self-motivation and more self-momentum in order to be successful."

The post-match questions will be answered at another virtual press conference on Saturday evening... (br)