Runner up seems the best the reigning Bundesliga champion can hope for this season and on Saturday it welcomes Hannover which recently hammered five past Hamburg.
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus
Chahed, Djourou, Schulz, Pocognoli
Konan, Hoffmann, Pinto, Rausch
Coach Jurgen Klopp will likely name a side similar to the one that fell 1-0 at Allianz Arena, although captain Sebastian Kehl could come into the midfield for Sven Bender.
The only certain change is that 24-year-old striker Julian Schieber will start up top in place of Robert Lewandowski. The Poland international is still suspended following his challenge on Hamburg’s Per Skjelbred on Feb. 9.
Hannover is just a single point back off the Europa League places coming into the weekend, although a loss at Dortmund coupled with wins for Mainz, Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach would see it drop from seventh place to 10th.
Coach Mirko Slomka has several injuries to worry about ahead of kick off. Defender Mario Eggimann won’t play again this season due to a broken leg; right back Steve Cherundolo is out with a knee injury; midfielder Leon Andreasen will be out at least another month with a knee problem; midfielder Szabolcs Huszti has a hamstring sprain and defender Felipe is out injured as well.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Borussia Dortmund has won just one of its last five matches in all competitions — a 3-0 win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Feb. 16.
- Dortmund will be without Robert Lewandowski and his 14 Bundesliga goals on Saturday. Next on the club’s scoring table is Marco Reus with 10, followed by Jakub Blaszczykowski with nine and Mario Gotze with eight.
- Torsten Frings, who played for Dortmund between 2002 and 2004, announced his retirement from soccer on Tuesday.
- Hannover comes into Saturday’s match having won four of its last five Bundesliga matches.
- Hannover has beaten Dortmund just once (in September 2011) in the Bundesliga since 2008 — a run of nine matches.
- One-time Manchester United prospect Mame Biram Diouf (pictured, right) leads Hannover with 10 Bundesliga goals so far this season and will start up front with Mohammed Abdellaoue, who has six.