Thomas Tuchel begins his first Bundesliga campaign as Borussia Dortmund head coach with the visit of Borussia Monchengladbach to Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Tuchel took over from Jurgen Klopp at the end of last season, having been at the helm at Mainz for the previous five years.
And the 41-year-old has overseen a hugely encouraging pre-season schedule, picking up six wins from seven friendlies, as well as progressing in both the UEFA Europa League and the DFB-Pokal.
However, Tuchel’s primary objective will be to restore Dortmund to the UEFA Champions League, with the club having missed out on qualification last term following a miserable start to the campaign.
Mired in relegation trouble at Christmas, Dortmund eventually clawed their way back to finish seventh at the end of the season, but begin 2015-16 at home to a club who exceeded expectations to finish third.
While that performance earned Gladbach the Champions League berth that Dortmund so crave, head coach Lucien Favre insists his focus is on domestic matters.
“Despite taking part in the Champions League, the Bundesliga is our top priority,” said Favre. “We are happy the season is getting under way again.
“It is always a special occasion in Dortmund, in front of a huge crowd. It will be a very interesting opener.”
Dortmund added to their ranks during the close-season with the signings of Gonzalo Castro and Julian Weigl, but it is the arrival of goalkeeper Roman Burki from Freiburg that could cause Tuchel the biggest selection headache.
After a 2-0 cup victory over Chemnitzer last weekend, Tuchel discussed the competition between Burki and incumbent number one Roman Weidenfeller, saying: “There will be an answer to the goalkeeper debate.
“First we have to decide this internally. We’re discussing it with the coaching staff, with the goalkeeping coach and of course with the keepers themselves.
“We currently have two excellent goalkeepers, which we need. Both are – in addition to their outstanding performances in training – very valuable in their own ways with their behaviour within the team, how they take on their different roles, and also how they handle the competition between themselves.”
Encouragingly for Dortmund, they have only lost one of their last 14 matches at home to Monchengladbach, with the Borussia Park outfit collecting just five points from those matches.
Despite Dortmund’s dominance on home soil in recent times, the head-to-head record between these sides is remarkably close.
Of the 86 meetings between the sides, Dortmund and Monchengladbach have 29 wins apiece, while the remaining 28 have ended all-square.
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