Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel concedes losing to bitter rivals Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga is a “frightening” prospect.
Dortmund are fifth in the table – six points shy of the defending champions, who visit Signal Iduna Park on Saturday for Der Klassiker.
Dazzling in attack at their best, Tuchel’s team have suffered from defensive frailties and inconsistency this term, winning only half of their 10 Bundesliga matches.
“Nine points behind sounds frightening,” he said. “We would love to free ourselves of that [pressure], but it isn’t possible.
“We need lots of bravery tomorrow – that will be the key to the game. We need an intensity in our play. We need a lot of courage and we have to have compactness at every given moment.
“There will be some players playing tomorrow who haven’t found their rhythm yet.”
Tuchel will again be without Marco Reus after the Germany forward sustained a heel injury – a problem the coach insists in unrelated to his long-term adductor problem.
“The injury came out of nowhere, it might be because of his boots,” said the Dortmund boss. “I was ready to thrown him into an intense game.”
Ex-Bayern midfielder Sebastian Rode remains on the sidelines following appendix surgery, while Raphael Guerreiro will be assessed having returned from international duty with Portugal complaining of muscular soreness.
“Sebastian Rode has problems with his scar after surgery and there is a big question mark over Guerreiro.” Tuchel added.
“Guerreiro has muscular problems. He trained well, it might be down to the strains of the international break.”
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