Borussia Dortmund started their preparations for the second half of the season at their training ground in Brackel on Sunday afternoon with 500 fans in attendance – and with Ilkay Gündogan and Marcel Schmelzer completing the whole session.

Apart from some minor illnesses to Erik Durm, Lukasz Piszczek and goalkeeping coach Wolfgang de Beer, the year 2014 got off to a promising start for Jürgen Klopp. In the weight room, he found Neven Subotic (cruciate ligament) and Mats Hummels (ankle injury), with both having good news for the BVB coach. “It’s almost like you only need to take the splint away from him, and Neven is able to kick the ball again. Unfortunately, that’s not the case yet,” said Klopp and added: “Neven is making good progress. He has another crucial examination on Thursday, and then we will know more about his recovery.”

Hummels free of pain, Subotic makes progress
Six weeks after suffering an ankle injury in Germany’s friendly against England, Mats Hummels is pain free again. “We want him to use the next two weeks to catch up on his fitness,” said Klopp. Which means that Hummels could return to full training in the second half of January after the club’s training camp in Spain (9 to 17 January).

Robert Lewandowski and his teammates signed autographs after training. [pictures: Simoes]

Marcel Schmelzer and Ilkay Gündogan have already reached that level and took part in Sunday’s full training, with Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin also starting the year without any problems.

The first training session of 2014, attended by 500 onlookers, had originally been scheduled to take place behind closed doors, but because of the large number of fans showing up Jürgen Klopp decided to open the gates for this session. The weather even permitted the players to sign autographs afterwards.

The Dortmund coach also had some words on Robert Lewandowski. “It was best time to do what had to be done during the winter break. We had known for some time that Robert would leave us. His full focus will now again be on Borussia.” That he has every intention of giving his all for the Black n Yellows, the Pole already showed in the first half of the season.