Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp is expecting a tough trip to Mainz after a sapping midweek Champions League match against Ajax.
Dortmund advanced to the knock-out stages of the illustrious competition following their comprehensive 4-1 victory over Ajax.
Wednesday’s result means Dortmund have qualified top of Group D ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City in the so-called ‘group of death’ after some excellent performances, but Klopp is wary of the fact his team usually suffer physically in matches directly following European excursions.
“We will have a very tough challenge in Mainz,” he said.
“They are extremely strong at home this season.
“They always play a really good first half and maybe a drop off in the second. For us it’s the opposite after Champions League clashes.
“The task is clear and it won’t be easy but it’s like that for all teams who play in European competitions.
“It’s not a walk in the park to have three games per week. I expected that and it’s a nice problem to have.
“We have dropped some points in the league and we shouldn’t do that again, but you don’t get the three points easily in Mainz. We need to work hard, and we’ll be doing everything we can to be fully prepared over the coming hours.”
The reigning and two-time Bundesliga champions, fourth on the table, have some work to do to catch leaders Bayern Munich, who are eight points clear at the top.
And it will not get any easier on Saturday when Klopp’s men make the trip to Coface Arena.
Despite losing two of their last three league games, Mainz are eighth and only five points adrift of Dortmund.
The visitors will also have to be wary of Hungarian striker Adam Szalai, who has already netted eight league goals this season.
“They have good players and a good coach, a nice club and nice stadium,” said Klopp.
“They are very solid.
“They’ve got 17 points so far and that shows the quality they have in the squad. They have a team which is tactically well composed, and it will be a really tough match.
“It was like in previous years and it was always very close, so that’s how it’s going to be this time too.”