Injuries take toll on Dortmund ahead of Germany’s ‘Clasico’
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Dortmund’s Marcel Schmelzer (L) and Mats Hummels are both ruled out of the crucial Bundesliga clash against Bayern. AP photoSecond-placed Borussia Dortmund host leaders Bayern Munich on Nov. 23 in a Bundesliga top-of-the-table showdown with injuries having decimated the hosts’ defense.
The rematch of last season’s Champions League final between the Bundesliga’s top sides - billed as Germany’s Clasico or Der Klassiker - comes with Pep Guardiola’s Bayern four points clear and Dortmund’s defense in disarray.
Center back Mats Hummels and left back Marcel Schmelzer have been ruled out after returning from international duty with injuries.
With center back Neven Subotic out for six months with torn ligaments and right-back Lukasz Piszczek only just back in training after surgery, Dortmund will face the European champions without their entire first-choice back four.
“It is a disaster,” admitted Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
“The worst thing that can happen to you in football is to have to replace the entire back four.
“A defender, a midfielder or a striker can be replaced by every team, but a whole back four?”
Even with Bayern’s France winger Franck Ribery ruled out with a fractured rib, the pressure is firmly on Dortmund.
“It’s just like it so often is with us: we have a good enough squad and will certainly have a decent team on the pitch, whose goal will be to win there,” said Bayern’s Germany star Thomas Müller.
Mario Götze, who is returning to Dortmund having left to join Bayern in the summer, will be making his first appearance at the Westfalenstadion in the red shirt.
The 21-year-old has said he has “no fear” and understands the passionate home supporters would rather see him playing for Borussia, but ex-Dortmund and Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has advised him “not to take throw-ins or corners” to stay away from the fans.