One friendly yesterday, another tomorrow and a training session – light, but not so light – on the agenda today. Two key long-term injury absentees are nearing a comeback, several players were absent due to an infection and the coaching staff gave the team the afternoon off.
Jan-Philip Kirschke reporting from Marbella
It was a moment that brought a smile to the faces of the travelling BVB fans. As the training session on the morning of the first friendly of the year – Borussia Dortmund beat Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-0 – drew to a close, the players and coaching staff posed alongside supporters for a photo in front of the stand at the small Estadio Municipal in the Spanish city of Marbella. An extra snapshot was subsequently taken with Peter Stöger, who had earlier fielded questions from journalists about a range of different topics – including the friendly match on Monday.
Aubameyang will play
"We want to see more determination above all else," said Stöger as he cast a glance ahead to the clash with Belgian Cup winners SV Zulte Waregem. "We were defensively solid against Düsseldorf," explained the coach, who now wants to see an improved showing from his team in the final third. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will definitely have a role to play; the Gabon forward is set to feature alongside Gonzalo Castro and Mario Götze.
Götze and Reus with updates
World Cup winner Götze, whose training load has been incrementally increased in the past few days, said during a media discussion at the team hotel at midday: "It took three days, but from today onwards I am back to full team training and I am in a condition where I can play." His team-mate Marco Reus is not quite at the same stage yet, although the midfielder confirmed his recovery is "going entirely according to plan". Reus added: "I hope to increase my workload in the coming days and get really involved in team training soon. I'm feeling confident."
Stomach bug does the rounds
Following the gym session and the subsequent game of football tennis, Reus and Götze joined their team-mates who hadn't featured in the friendly the previous evening as they underwent additional sprint drills. Probably not every footballer's favourite part of training, as a smiling Peter Stöger hinted at when he said: "It was a form of mental training; from my side there was a hope that they wouldn't enjoy it too much and would want to get back on the football pitch quickly." Among those not on the pitch on Sunday were Nuri Sahin, Ömer Toprak, Christian Pulisic, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Dominik Reimann, who were all suffering from a gastrointestinal virus.
Having completed six intense sessions under the Marbella sun and taken on Düsseldorf in a friendly, the players were finally granted an afternoon off by Stöger, who explained: "We're at the end of the training camp and the lads are getting a bit tired." The next training session is pencilled in for Monday morning, before the team take on Zulte Waregem at 16:00 CET that afternoon.
Monday, 16:00 CET: Friendly live on BVB total!
The match against the Belgian top-flight outfit will take place at the Estadio Municipal in Marbella and, as usual, will be shown live on BVB total! as well as Borussia Dortmund's YouTube channel.