Following the confirmation of his departure at the end of the season, Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp does not want the visit of Paderborn to be the start of a “farewell tour”.
Dortmund confirmed on Wednesday they had agreed to an early termination of Klopp’s contract at Signal Iduna Park after seven hugely successful years.
Two Bundesliga titles, a DFB-Pokal crown and a run to the UEFA Champions League final helped cement Klopp’s position as a favourite at the club.
However, this season has not gone to plan for Klopp’s men, who sit in the bottom half following back-to-back league defeats.
Dortmund remain on course for Pokal success but Klopp is eager not to take focus off the league campaign, with visitors Paderborn in need of points to ensure their survival in the Bundesliga.
“I am not on a farewell tour and I expect a competitive atmosphere on Saturday,” explained the 47-year-old.
“Today at noon is normal training. No players applauded when I told them my decision – my players can celebrate on the pitch.
“Paderborn haven’t had good results recently. But with one win, they will be in mid-table with us.”
Andre Breitenreiter’s side will likely be buoyed by Dortmund’s lengthy injury list, which includes Nuri Sahin, Oliver Kirch, Lukasz Piszczek, Sebastian Kehl and Neven Subotic.
Jakub Blaszczykowski, Sven Bender, Erik Durm, Marco Reus and Kevin Grosskreutz are also doubtful.
Paderborn sit 16th in the table after a surprise victory over high-flyers Augsburg last time out moved them out of the automatic relegation places.
While Breitenreiter still has work to do to prevent his side making an immediate return to the second tier, the 41-year-old took time this week to pay tribute to Klopp and his work with Dortmund.
“Klopp’s resignation has not been an issue with the team,” he said.
“He has made his personal decision and I think you have to respect that.
“This is a human quality and all I can say is hats off to him.
“We were all surprised, for Jurgen Klopp has shaped his idea of football all these years in the game.
“Ideas like counter pressing and switching are primarily associated with his name.”
Breitenreiter also has injury concerns in the form of midfielder Alban Meha – set to sit out the weekend’s clash due to an elbow problem.
Injured trio Marvin Ducksch, Jens Wemmer and Thomas Bertels are also out of contention.