Borussia Dortmund will end their 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign with a home game against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday. The Black & Yellows have failed to win each of their last four matches against the Kraichgau club, who currently sit in seventh place in the table and have already secured themselves a European berth.
"We were much better in the away game in December and could have been 3-0 or 4-0 up, but we lost 2-1. We don't want a repeat of that," said coach Lucien Favre of the last meeting with TSG. Referring to the four-match winless streak against the Sinsheim outfit, sporting director Michael Zorc declared: "It's time we change that."
BVB will definitely be without captain Marco Reus, Thomas Delaney, Manuel Akanji, Mahmoud Dahoud and the suspended Emre Can. Mario Götze, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, has not been able to complete the two coronavirus tests required by the DFL hygiene concept due to the birth of his son and the hospital visits he has been making as a result. "However, we're delighted that he'll be back in the stadium on Saturday and that we'll be able to bid him farewell," said Zorc. "It's obviously different when there are no fans there to see it but we'll do it nonetheless."
Youngsters Giovanni Reyna and Erling Haaland were singled out for further praise at the pre-match press conference. "Lucien and I agree about Gio's prospects," explained the sporting director, adding: "We believe he has a great future." Talks are currently being held in a bid to ensure the 17-year-old remains with BVB for as long as possible. Zorc said: "It's a total success story and we want to continue it."
Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Haaland, who has adapted well and settled in quickly at BVB since making the switch to the Bundesliga from Austria in mid-season, is another player who is only going to improve. "He now gives us the option to play the ball in behind. But he can also link up with the team well," said Favre in praise of his striker, who moved to Dortmund during the winter break.
With 16 of 17 matches played in the second half of the season, Zorc is satisfied. "If you only look at the second half of the season, we've now picked up 30 points more than Schalke, 13 more than Leipzig, 12 more than Gladbach and seven more than Leverkusen. That's a very good record," said the sporting director. Zorc had hoped for more from the first half of the season, "but if Bayern Munich pick up more than 80 points, it's going to be difficult for us and every other club in Germany to finish above that".