Borussia Dortmund will be without Mario Gotze for their Champions League last-16 tie against Benfica.
The injured playmaker has not played in any of Dortmund’s last three matches and did not travel to Lisbon, although fitness doubts Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek did make the trip.
While Gotze returned to training ahead of Tuesday’s first leg at Estadio da Luz, the match has come too soon for him.
“He most recently had adductor problems,” head coach Thomas Tuchel said of Gotze at his pre-match media conference.
“He had one training session but unfortunately it is not enough for him to help us in this game.
“It will be a big task for us against a very proud club. I am really looking forward to it. Benfica can be very fluent in attack while staying compact in defence.
“I do not think there is a favourite and we cannot make comparisons to the group matches against Sporting. I trust us to put in a good performance – we have often done so in the Champions League.”
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) February 13, 2017
The match comes after Dortmund were punished by the German Football Association (DFB) for crowd trouble against RB Leipzig, with the club having to close their famous Yellow Wall for one Bundesliga match and pay a €100,000 fine.
Tuchel, though, has felt sheltered from much of the furore.
“It is often quietest in the middle of the storm,” he said.
“We accept the collective punishment, but it hurts and it affects many innocent fans. The Yellow Wall is unique, with 25,000 people. It is a monument of world football.”
Captain Schmelzer, meanwhile, urged his team to show a response after their shock 2-1 league loss at Darmstadt on Saturday.
“We looked at that game; we analysed it together,” he said. “We came up with an explanation and agreed that we can’t lose those type of matches.
“We are in the last 16 so that makes this game the most difficult. To talk about favourites in these eliminators doesn’t make sense. We must prepare well in order to take a good result back home with us.”
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