Matchday 22 sees Borussia Dortmund visit TSG Hoffenheim. The away game kicks off at 15:30 CET on Saturday.
In the aftermath of the 4-1 victory against Hertha BSC last Sunday – the eighth competitive win in a row – BVB head coach Edin Terzic gave his team Monday off. The preparations for the Hoffenheim match then commenced on Tuesday with a public training session. The intensity levels then stepped up a notch at the training ground in Brackel on Wednesday when the players were put through their paces in an extensive session that included an 11 vs. 11 match. The workload is set to be brought back down slightly on Thursday in order to ensure it can be raised again at the final training session the day before the game. “Then we’re sure we’ll head into the next challenge fresh and with lots of self-confidence,” Terzic said.
In contrast to the previous two English weeks that have involved ties in the DFB-Pokal and Champions League, he now has more time ahead of the next Bundesliga outing. “It’s more relaxed when there’s no game in midweek and you have slightly more time,” explained the coach. “In English weeks, we spend a very long time in meeting rooms and conduct analyses.” This week, the players will not return to the meeting room for the opposition analysis until Thursday. But Terzic wants to use that session to show his players “what we need to improve and what was good in the recent matches”.
“Enough ideas and options”
Striker Youssoufa Moukoko (partial tear of the syndesmosis ligament) and Karim Adeyemi, who sustained torn muscle fibres against Hertha BSC, remain unavailable to face Hoffenheim. “It’s not nice to be without someone who has not only played well but has also been involved in many important passages of play,” said Terzic, who then brought up the two games in Bochum and Bremen in which Adeyemi was suspended: “We were also successful in those; others assumed his responsibilities there. We have enough ideas and options to be able to react to his absence.” Jamie Bynoe-Gittens came on to replace Adeyemi against Hertha BSC and set up Dortmund’s fourth goal in what was their sixth Bundesliga win in a row.
While BVB have emerged as victors in all of their matches this year, the men from Hoffenheim have yet to win a Bundesliga match in that timeframe. The team were also eliminated from the DFB-Pokal following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Leipzig. TSG occupy 15th place in the table with 19 points, level on points with VfL Bochum in the relegation play-off place and only above them by virtue of goal difference. “This was not on the cards,” said Terzic of the opposition’s form. “They were still in fourth position in the table on Matchday 10.”
The club management reacted by signing former Dortmund player Thomas Delaney, John Anthony Brooks and Kasper Dolberg in the January transfer window. Pellegrino Matarazzo then replaced Andre Breitenreiter in the dugout at the beginning of February. “He hasn’t had much time to make his mark. But you can see that every week with the team is doing him good and that they are getting their bearings. They are very hard-running and want to have a lot of possession, they can be very dangerous. We’re sure it’ll be an intense game,” said Terzic of the opponent’s approach.
BVB have managed to win four of their last five Bundesliga meetings with TSG, with the other a draw. However, each of the last three victories have all been by a single goal. “We’re aware of the past, especially the tight games against Hoffenheim. We’ll need to prepare ourselves extremely well for it,” said Terzic, who is eager to continue the winning streak.
“We want to remind ourselves what put us in this situation. It was really good work in training. The lads have implemented things as a team. We have the impression they are prepared to keep taking this path,” explained the coach. The current position of second in the table is a significant improvement on the sixth place they held heading into the winter break, “but we haven’t achieved our objective yet. There’s no reason to do anything differently. We need to continue in exactly the same vein.”
BVB TV by 1&1: The press conference prior to the match in Hoffenheim