Thursday's press conference ahead of the Bundesliga match at home to Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Saturday at 15:30 CET) began at 14:00 CET on the dot. And BVB boss Lucien Favre and sporting director Michael Zorc had some good news to report, too: Raphael Guerreiro is set to remain a Dortmund player until 2023.
"We've continued our discussions with him over the course of recent weeks. A general agreement has now been reached between the club and player over a contract extension until 2023. I think we'll get it over the line," said Michael Zorc to the journalists in attendance. The Portugal international and European champion has already made 84 appearances for the Black & Yellows, notching 15 goals and 17 assists.
Fortunately, the injury list seems to have shortened ahead of the Leverkusen clash. "Axel Witsel and Thorgan Hazard have both trained and are on the right track. As for Nico Schulz, it'll be difficult. Manuel Akanji returned to running training yesterday," commented Favre.
"We want to be title contenders this season too"
Another topic of discussion ahead of the meeting with direct rivals Leverkusen, who sit once place above BVB in fourth, was the Bundesliga title race. Favre declared: "I've always targeted the maximum as a coach. That's a fact, because last season we challenged for the title right until the very end. We want to be title contenders this season too. But I don't want to speak about it every day and at every press conference. I need to concentrate on my job."
Zorc, meanwhile, was keen to look ahead following the defeat in Berlin last time out. "It's normal that we're subjected to criticism. But we need to deal with it professionally. The best way to respond is by winning." But while BVB are targeting all three points at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK on Saturday, they have great respect for their opponents. "Technically, Leverkusen are a very strong team. They currently have the highest possession stats in the Bundesliga. We have similar strengths and we hope we can make them count," said Zorc.
#BVBB04: Black & Yellows with superior head-to-head record
BVB have taken 13 out of a possible 15 points from their last five meetings, scoring 18 goals in the process. At home, they have won the last four clashes and scored at least three goals on each occasion. Last season, matches between the teams produced a goal every 16 minutes on average. Click here to view the Match Facts.
Directly after the coach and sporting director returned to BVB headquarters following the press conference, a UEFA delegation arrived. Ten players were required to undergo a doping check ahead of the Champions League meeting with FC Barcelona on Tuesday (21:00 CET). (peck)