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Borussia Dortmund v Odd: Tuchel hopes hosts are fresh

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 25 Aug 2015

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Thomas Tuchel is hopeful that Borussia Dortmund will be fit and fresh enough for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play-off with Odd after their whirlwind start to the season.

Dortmund have already played six competitive matches this term – due to their involvement in the Europa League qualifiers – and have shown signs of getting back to their breath-taking, and breathless, best after an underwhelming final campaign under Jurgen Klopp in 2014-15.

Tuchel has overseen a 100 per cent winning record since taking the reins from Klopp, with his side racking up 18 goals in the process.

Four of those 18 goals came in a remarkable first leg in Norway last Thursday, when Dortmund were 3-0 down inside the opening 22 minutes before hitting back to earn a narrow lead to take back to Signal Iduna Park.

That thrilling victory was followed up with another four-goal haul in a comprehensive win at Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga at the weekend, and Tuchel is eager to prevent his players from running out of gas.

When asked if it is important for Dortmund to rest in the aftermath of their win on Sunday, Tuchel said: “It is absolutely essential. It’s been very intense lately with the team having to adjust to new opponents every few days.

“Since the beginning of working with the team, they have been reacting remarkably.

“That’s why they deserve a huge amount of praise. The goal for Thursday is the Europa League group stages. We’ll have to take it step by step.”

Tuchel may be able to freshen up his defence on Thursday, with centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos having returned to training after suffering an ankle injury at the Skagerak Arena last week.

Kevin Grosskreutz, who has been struggling with a knee problem, may be in line for his first appearance of the season after he completed 90 minutes for Dortmund II on Saturday.

Marco Reus was rested for the trip to Norway, but could play on Thursday as Tuchel looks to wrap up Dortmund’s spot in the competition proper.

Eliteserien outfit Odd, meanwhile, responded well to the disappointment of the first leg by beating Viking Stavanger 1-0 in what may prove a crucial game in deciding who qualifies for next season’s Europa League.

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