Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is pushing for a return to action in Thursday’s Europa League round-of-32 first leg against Porto at Signal Iduna Park.
The Gabon international missed Saturday’s 1-0 win over Hannover in the Bundesliga after sustaining a knock in the DFB-Pokal against Stuttgart last week.
Aubameyang is Dortmund’s top scorer this term – boasting seven goals in the Europa League – with coach Thomas Tuchel likely to be able to call on the striker again this week after his return to training.
Sven Bender (ankle) remains doubtful for Dortmund, who have won all three of their competitive home games against Portuguese opponents – scoring ten goals in the process – but who ended the group stage with back-to-back defeats against Krasnodar and PAOK.
Europa League regular Roman Weidenfeller could miss out due to a cold and his likely replacement, number one Roman Burki, is eager for Aubameyang to feature.
“I hope that Auba will be available for us,” he said.
“Then there is a good chance we will be able to get more than one goal. Except for the [goalless draw] in Berlin we have always scored and except for [Hannover] we have always scored at least twice at home. So the prospects look good.
“If Auba is fit again then we will get a good result. Of course I am delighted that we have now managed that in three consecutive Bundesliga games. Now we want a clean sheet in our next match too.”
Burki’s opposite number will likely be Iker Casillas – the three-time Champions League winner set to make his first appearance in the Europa League.
Porto dropped into the competition after finishing behind Chelsea and Dynamo Kiev in their Champions League group, with Jose Peseiro replacing Julen Lopetegui as coach last month.
Peseiro masterminded a 2-1 win over rivals Benfica at the weekend but will be without suspended pair Danilo Pereira and Maxi Pereira for the trip to Dortmund.
Midfielder Hector Herrera was on target in the win over Benfica and told Fox Deportes recently: “The truth is that with the arrival of Jose Peseiro, I feel more comfortable and I have more confidence to develop my football.
“He gives us a lot of freedom to play the football we like most. I’ve been feeling really good and I hope to continue at a good pace so that on Thursday we are well physically and mentally for the game in Dortmund.
“Borussia’s stadium has a crowd that supports a lot and, as a player, I want to be involved in this kind of game and enjoy these environments.
“We hope to get a good result and be calmer for the home leg.”