Just how much rotation is necessary after the two competitive games against FC Bayern Munich and SSC Napoli with a total of 241 kilometres covered by the team? And just how much rotation is possible with the injury situation and two defeats in the Bundesliga in mind.
Jürgen Klopp couldn’t answer this question in the build-up to Saturday’s away game at 1.FSV Mainz (kick-off: 1530 CET). “We still have another two days to make a decision,” said the BVB coach on Thursday, adding that they will have a good look at the players and how they are coping with the schedule. “We will only deal with the subject of rotation for sporting reasons and look at who’s in best shape.”
Klopp pointed out that while there is “a huge difference“ whether a team covers 110 or 120 kilometres in a game, “it’s makes no real difference to the recovery process.”
Manuel Friedrich, who will only be eligible to play in the UEFA Champions League after the winter break, returns to the squad and most likely also to the team, while Sven Bender is set to play in spite of a broken nose. “Manni embodies everything what our game is about and what we have shown in the last couple of years: the willingness to push yourself to your physical limits. He has an exceptional character.”
Piszczek to wait for starting return
There are no changes expected to the squad. “So far no one has had the courage to call me,” said the Dortmund coach jokingly. He admitted that some players are “not at 100 percent” but didn’t expect any of them to be unavailable against Mainz on Saturday. While the “substitutes” played an eleven-a-side match lasting 25 minutes each half with a few players from the reserve side on Wednesday, the rest of the team was given, and will be given some recovery time. Klopp: “We will turn our full focus on the Mainz game in the final training on Friday.”
The Dortmund coach has more or less ruled out the possibility of Lukasz Piszczek making his comeback to the starting line-up on Saturday. “The question is not, ‘What is possible?’ but ‘What is reasonable?’ He needs a few more training sessions to get back to the player he was.”