Sport Soccer

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Klopp's chronic back problem for 'der klassiker'

BORUSSIA DORTMUND will be without three of their first-choice defenders today when they try to condemn Bayern Munich to their first league defeat in over a year.

Having already lost one centre-half, Neven Subotic, for the season, Dortmund are now without the other, Mats Hummels, after he suffered an ankle injury against England at Wembley which will keep him out until January.

Left-back Marcel Schmelzer, who damaged a calf against England, is also out. The remaining member of the back four that took Dortmund to the Champions League final is Lukasz Piszczek.

He might play, but will not be match-sharp, having just returned from injury. So desperate is Dortmund's position, coach Jurgen Klopp this week signed veteran Manuel Friedrich (34), who was released by Bayer Leverkusen in May.

Bayern will be without Franck Ribery, injured while helping France reach the World Cup, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, but they have rather greater resources.

Facing Dortmund's makeshift defence, and a storm of abuse from the Westfalenstadion's yellow wall of sound, is the terrace's former hero Mario Gotze.

Having been with Dortmund since he was nine, the 21-year-old attacking midfielder swapped clubs for £31.5m during the summer and, after taking time to adjust, is now nearing his best.

Dortmund have not lost in 'Der Klassiker' – as the game has become known in recent years – since February 2010, drawing twice and winning four of the six encounters.

The other club still in the title mix are Sami Hyypia's Bayer Leverkusen, who travel to Hertha Berlin today ahead of the Champions League visit of Manchester United on Wednesday.

Borussia D'mund v Bayern Munich,

Live, BT Sport 1, 5.30

Irish Independent

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