Both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will be at near full-strength for their sides’ Champions League semifinal first leg at the Westfalenstadion on Wednesday.
For Dortmund, striker Robert Lewandowski has recovered from a thigh problem picked up in the 2-0 victory over Mainz on Saturday. Midfielders Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender are fit to return after missing out at the weekend, but are likely to have to compete for one spot alongside Ilkay Gundogan.
Dortmund’s buildup to their first Champions League semifinal in 15 years -- when they lost to Madrid -- has unfortunately been dominated by matters off the pitch. Less than 48 hours before kick-off it was revealed that key midfielder Mario Gotze had had his release clause met by Bayern Munich and would be playing for Dortmund’s key rivals next season.
“The only way the timing could have been worse would have been if it came four hours before the match,” Klopp said in Tuesday’s press conference, according to UEFA.com.
Klopp was also keen to prevent the news overshadowing such a big occasion.
“Everyone should support the team tomorrow, no matter what -- Real Madrid cannot capitalize on this,” he added. “If someone does not understand how much heart has gone into getting this far, they should not come.”
Unlike Dortmund, Madrid were able to rest several of their first-team players at the weekend, as they beat Real Betis 3-1. The only confirmed absentee from the first leg is right-back Alvaro Arbeloa, who is suspended. Angel di Maria is set to play despite his wife just having given birth. Marcelo and Luka Modric have slight knocks but were not expected to play even if fully fit.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is confident that the side he selects can better the performances they produced against Dortmund in this season’s group stage when the German side won 2-1 at home before a late Mesut Ozil free-kick rescued a 2-2 draw for the Spaniards in the return.
“The four goals we conceded against Dortmund in the group stage were all our mistakes,” he claimed. “Should we concede again in these two games, I hope it would be because of fantastic and unstoppable goals, not ones created by our mistakes. But of course we hope not to concede many goals at all!”
“I hope that my team, who I value tremendously as individuals as well as a team, will be able to convince here and in the return leg. This team have great players who give everything they have and deserve to win this competition.”
Borussia Dortmund (probable)
D: Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
M: Bender, Gundogan
Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus
Real Madrid (probable)
D: Ramos, Pepe, Varane, Coentrao
M: Alonso, Khedira
Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo
Where to watch: The Champions League semifinal first leg will kick-off at 2.45 p.m. Live streaming coverage will be provided by Fox Soccer 2Go.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.