Borussia Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer claims that a lack of competition in Portugal’s Primeira Liga leaves Benfica underprepared for their Champions League meeting on Tuesday.
Thomas Tuchel’s side lost 2-1 to the bottom-of-the-table Darmstadt in the Bundesliga on Saturday, leaving their Champions League qualification hopes in limbo and their title hopes in tatters.
Dortmund, who currently sit fourth in the league, are now 15 points off leaders Bayern Munich and just two clear of seventh placed Cologne.
But despite their stuttering form, Schmelzer still feels that tough league games will give them the edge over their last-16 opponents.
Speaking to reporters, the 29-year-old said: “In their league they don’t have such games every week where they are tested and that’s different to the Bundesliga.
“So we’ll prepare intensely for Benfica and then we will be ready for the game.”
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) February 13, 2017
Schmelzer also claimed that any pressure they are feeling is coming from the team itself.
He explained: “I think we put ourselves under pressure.
“We want to accomplish our goals, in the Bundesliga as well, everyone wants that. So it was very disappointing that we didn’t get the points in Darmstadt.
“And now in the Champions League we are only looking forward to it.”
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