Thomas Tuchel believes trust is the key to Borussia Dortmund’s excellent run of form as they look to maintain their unbeaten 2016 record in Sunday’s visit to Augsburg.
Having qualified for the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday at the expense of Tottenham, Dortmund resume their bid to catch Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich with a trip to the WWK Arena.
Tuchel’s men have managed seven wins and two draws in their nine league fixtures in the calendar year so far, yet still trail their Bavarian rivals by five points in the standings.
Dortmund, who are also through to the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal, are still fighting for honours on three fronts and Tuchel praised his players for continuously adapting to the task at hand.
“A big sense of trust between us has been created to achieve what we are aiming for,” he told the club’s website.
“We can play in various formations and tactical line-ups. The players bring the glue that keeps it all together. They show a real sense of being able to achieve the things that we have set out to achieve.
“This is what you need to have to win game after game.”
Dortmund have already beaten their next opponents twice this season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped himself to a hat-trick in a 5-1 win in the Bundesliga fixture at Signal Iduna Park back in October, while the Gabon striker scored again in a 2-0 Pokal triumph in December.
Despite being on a sticky run of form that has left them three points above the drop, head coach Markus Weinzierl has called on the hosts to be positive in the way they go about dealing with Dortmund.
Augsburg – who will again be without Piotr Trochowski but could welcome back Jan Moravek and Ji Dong-won – have won only once in 2016, 1-0 away at Hannover in February, but have drawn three of their last four Bundesliga outings.
“We are definitely the underdogs because Dortmund have been very strong this season,” Weinzierl told Ausburg’s official website.
“We will try our best and maybe manage to get something from the match.
“In the cup game, we did well in the first half and if we can keep that level of performance for the full 90 minutes we are definitely in with a chance of picking up points on Sunday.
“We will definitely have to get to grips with the individual quality of Dortmund and not allow ourselves to be passive.”
Key Opta Stats:
– Borussia Dortmund‘s competitive record against Augsburg is impressive (W7, D2, L1). The solitary defeat came in 2014-15.
– Markus Weinzierl’s side have won just one of their last ten home Bundesliga games
– Dortmund have kept clean sheets in seven of their last eight league games and already have one more (11) than the whole of last season.
– Marco Reus ended a five-game drought against Mainz and has now reached 10 goals in five of the last six campaigns (last season being the only exception). He could make his 200th Bundesliga appearance on Sunday.
– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on a run of three league games without a goal for the first time since November/December in 2014.