Borussia Dortmund are set to play four matches in 11 days. There are two knockout games in the DFB Cup and the UEFA Champions League, as well as two Bundesliga matches – the first of which comes against Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday (15:30 CET).
Bielefeld, Mönchengladbach, Bayern and Sevilla are BVB's upcoming opponents, though head coach Edin Terzic doesn't want to set his sights too far ahead: "We're focusing solely on Saturday's match; we want to put our best team out on the pitch for that. We'll cross the other bridges when we come to them."
They will be welcoming an Arminia Bielefeld side to SIGNAL IDUNA PARK that might currently be down in the relegation-play-off place, but earned praise at the start of last week for a 3-3 draw away to Bayern Munich. At one point, the promoted outfit led the German champions by two goals. "Bielefeld always play football their way, regardless of their situation in the table. You could see that in Munich and they had decent spells against Wolfsburg as well, even if they did end up losing 3-0," said the BVB coach, who believes the East Westphalians play "very courageous football".
According to Terzic, this brand of football consists of several elements: goalkeeper Stefan Ortega playing through the lines, short passes, long balls up to the strikers who are strong in the air and lots of pace down the wings to pose a danger on the counter-attack. "Those are things that we'll need to deal with. We have to try to stop their courageous approach in its tracks," said the coach, before adding: "We have to be ready to get stuck into the challenges and deal with the counters. We have to be wide awake from the first second."
BVB are unbeaten in five clashes with Arminia Bielefeld and have won both of the last two meetings, although the 2-0 victory in the reverse fixture was "not so easy", according to Terzic. "It was Mats Hummels who scored the two goals. We'll need to show everything that has set us apart in our last few games if we are to be successful in this game too."
Whether the recently recovered quartet of Roman Bürki, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Thorgan Hazard and Lukasz Piszczek are ready to return to the matchday squad will be decided after the final training session. They are all back in team training and "have had a good week with us at the training ground. Things looked good."
But Axel Witsel (torn Achilles tendon) and Manuel Akanji (torn muscle fibres) definitely won't play a role, even if their rehab is going exactly according to plan. "Axel is working hard; we're in regular contact," explained Terzic. "In Manuel's case, there are still a few weeks to go."