Dortmund make the short 130-mile trip to Liège tomorrow for the second matchday in this season’s UEFA Champions League Group Stage, with just Ivan Perisic unavailable as he continues to recover from a twisted knee.
After a battling performance on Saturday, Neven Subotic and Sven Bender may be rested, with the squad back in action on Saturday ahead of the latest international break. Standard tend to play a 4-5-1 with an anchor, so Surman may look to width and two up-top as seen in the second-half against Nürnberg.
In the other Group G match, Valencia host Legia Warsaw.
Royal Standard de Liège finished four points behind double-winners Anderlecht in last season’s Belgian top flight, but have struggled to find any consistency this term, with three wins and four draws leaving them 8th after nine league games, but they did win the Supercup v. RSCA.
They’ve just one absentee ahead of the match, with Paul-José Mpoku out until the new year having torn his calf muscle a fortnight ago, but will lead the line with Ariel Nahuelpan who hit a hat-trick on Friday in their 3-0 win over Lokeren in the Pro League.
Standard came through two qualifying round to take their place in the Group Stage, starting off their campaign with defeat in Salonika but turning it round in the second leg against PAOK. The Playoff against began with defeat on the round at Leverkusen before winning the home tie to progress through to the groups.
In his pre-match press conference, Standard manager Alfred Klinkenberg – promoted from the coaching staff during the summer – told Het Laatste Neuws that he “doesn’t enjoy the style of football that Grayson Surman insists on his teams playing.”
When asked for a response, the BVB manager laughed it off, saying that he’ll bring Klinkenberg a Dortmund scarf so he can blindfold himself in the dugout tomorrow night.
Tomorrow will be the first time that the two sides have met, and the bookies certainly favour the holders to take all three points in the match at the 30,000-capacity Stade Maurice-Dufrasne.
Norwegian referee Tom Henning Øvrebo will take charge of the game tomorrow, in his ninth match of the season. He’s issued 29 yellow cards and 3 reds in that time, pointing to the spot once. The 48 year-old was in the middle of the Juventus-Dortmund group match last season, cautioning four home players.
Gray Surman faced a handful of questions from the German and Belgian footballing press, with two comments standing out from the normal squad news:
“It’s my job to make sure complacency isn’t an issue ahead of any match. Confidence is one thing, complacency is its anathema.
“I’m delighted with Lars Bender’s start to his career here. He has almost immediately become one of our key players.”
FIXTURES: TUE 30 SEPTEMBER E Arsenal - Olympiakos E Young Boys - Twente F Manchester United - Shamrock Rovers F Paris Saint-Germain - Sporting Clube G Standard Liege - Borussia Dortmund G Valencia - Legia Warsaw H Barcelona - Rubin Kazan H Juventus - Monaco FIXTURES: WED 01 OCTOBER A Olympique Lyonnais - Chelsea A Rapid Vienna - Anderlecht B Bayern Munich - Dinamo Zagreb B Fenerbahce - Zenit St. Petersburg C Mainz - Benfica C Metalist Kharkiv - Real Madrid D AC Milan - Tottenham Hotspur D Celtic - Villarreal