Dortmund are back on the road for tomorrow’s 140-mile trip to the HDI-Arena, home of relegation-threatened Hannover 96. The side slipped into the bottom two after a 5-0 thrashing at fellow-strugglers Fürth last weekend.
BVB are expected to rotate the squad once more, especially with an international midweek leading into a home match with Hamburg in a week’s time. Mario Götze and Mats Hummels are both unavailable through injury, and Marcel Schmelzer may miss out as he’s one yellow card away from an automatic one-match ban.
The match will be televised on Saturday evening, earning BVB ~£45,000.
Neither second-placed Schalke or third-placed Bayern Munich play this weekend, meaning that Dortmund can open up an eleven point gap with wins either side of the international break before their nearest rivals play next.
Hannover 96 are struggling this season, and were sucked into the bottom two after a demoralising, televised 0-5 defeat at relegation-rivals Fürth last Friday. They haven’t won in the league since 9th November, with a run of seven defeats and five draws since that 2-1 win over Hamburg.
Manager Mirko Slomka was fired after the defeat to Fürth, leaving the club under the command of Norbert Düwel for tomorrow’s visit of the Bundesliga leaders.
They’ll be without left-back Christian Schulz (broken toe) and striker Artur Sobiech (gashed leg) through injury tomorrow, and fellow-striker Jan Schlaudraff will face a late fitness test as he recovers from a knee injury. Top scorer Kim Ojo (8 in 20) is match-fit, though will be suspended for the trip to Leverkusen if he picks up a caution tomorrow.
Ref: Guido Winkmann (Oberhausen)
Weather: Breezy, Drizzle 12°C
In October, Dortmund ran out 5-1 winners at Signal Iduna Park in a match that saw them have 25 shots to Hannover’s 3. Ilkay Gündogan opened the scoring inside 10 minutes before Kim Ojo’s equaliser shortly afterwards. Robert Lewandowski put BVB back in front before half-time, With Güdogan, Ivan Perisic and Viktor Fischer finding the back of the net in the second half.
Referee tomorrow is Guido Winkmann who takes charge of his fifteenth Bundesliga match of the season. Mr Winkmann was in the middle for Dortmund’s DFB-Pokal win at Erzebirge Aue back in the Third Round which saw the home side receive seven cautions. His last ten matches in all competitions have seen him issue 32 yellow cards and two reds, award two penalties, and score an average rating of 7.88.
Pre-Match Press Conference
Several local and national journalists were at Signal Iduna Park ahead of Borussia Dortmund travelling to Hannover tomorrow. The assembled media put questions to Grayson Surman about individual players, squad harmony, and the club’s title chances.
Surman was in an calm mood through the 8-question conference, speaking of the squad’s confidence and moral levels as well as the fitness levels through the squad after a period of rotation. Tomorrow’s match will be his 99th as a First Team Manager and 50th at Dortmund.
We will be rotating the squad around the international break and ahead of the Champions League tie back home. Those players needing match fitness will get a run out, as will some fringe players who can make a great difference to our title push.
Felipe Santana is playing very well lately, I’m thrilled with the defensive options we have.