Thomas Delaney likes the intense schedule. "It was hard at the start. But you get used to it; there are times where you don't train as intensively to compensate," said the midfielder prior to the UEFA Champions League clash with Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday (21:00 CET). "For us players, it's not such a bad thing to play more often than we train."
The fixture congestion brings with it another, completely different advantage too: the chance for a quick redemption. Borussia Dortmund lost the opening match of their European campaign 3-1 away to Lazio a week ago. "Unfortunately, it was not a good performance from us," explained Delaney, adding: "But fortunately we still have plenty of opportunities to pick up points." The aim will be to get the first points of the group on the board against Zenit.
The visitors from Russia don't have any points either. They were beaten 2-1 by Brugge in their opener, the winner coming from a counter-attack in the third minute of stoppage time. "In my opinion, it was an unnecessary defeat for them. They squandered some great chances. That shows how dangerous they are," said coach Lucien Favre, who had the following words for his players. "We need to press intelligently and be very clever with our build-up play and possession. We need to take risks going forward at the right moments."
Favre's side will have a job on their hands keeping Zenit striker Artem Dzyuba quiet. "He can hold the ball up well and flick it on. He's tall and powerful and intelligent in front of goal," said the Swiss tactician, who noted that there are also speedy midfielders who often get into shooting positions.
The last meeting between Borussia Dortmund and Zenit St. Petersburg came in the last 16 of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League, with the Black & Yellows going through after a 4-2 away win and 2-1 home defeat. BVB's Axel Witsel played for Zenit back then; the quartet of Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and Marcel Schmelzer are the only current players who were in the Dortmund squad back then.
Head coach Favre will still be without injury absentees Schmelzer and Dan-Axel Zagadou. Emre Can is not available to play on Wednesday either. He is currently isolating at home after testing positive for the coronavirus, but could not have played anyway due to suspension.