Borussia Dortmund will go into the UEFA Europa League’s play-off round against Norwegian side Odd full of confidence after getting their Bundesliga campaign off to an impressive start at the weekend.
Thomas Tuchel’s first league game at the helm could hardly have gone better, as Dortmund showed signs of getting back to their best after a difficult season last time out, thrashing Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0 at Signal Iduna Park.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored twice after goals from Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ensuring Tuchel’s winning start as Dortmund continued after third-qualifying round triumphs over Wolfsberger in Europe.
Dortmund will undoubtedly face tougher tests should they make the groups but Tuchel’s men have yet to concede a goal in his first four competitive matches – a sequence that bodes well as they seek to dispatch their Tippeligaen opponents.
While Odd have lost just once in six UEFA home games at the Odd Stadium, confidence is high at Dortmund, with goalkeeper Roman Burki eager to build on their positive start.
The former Freiburg man, who has seemingly displaced Roman Weidenfeller as number one, told Dortmund’s official website: “I was a little nervous [on Saturday] but it was impressive to have the wall [Dortmund fans] behind me.
“We dominated the game and were cool when it came to taking our scoring chances. This is the reward for the hard work and preparation.
“Nevertheless, it is no more than the first game. The task now is to continue working and to refine small details.”
Tuchel will hope Erik Durm (knee) and Neven Subotic (back) can edge closer to full fitness while Weidenfeller could be given a run-out in Skien.
Dag-Eilev Fagermo’s side are enjoying the most successful European venture in the club’s history, having seen off Sheriff, Shamrock Rovers and Elfsborg to reach the play-off round.
Dortmund fans will likely recognise a number of faces within Fagermo’s squad, including former Nuremberg midfielder Tommy Svindal Larsen and Canadian striker Olivier Occean who lists Eintracht Frankfurt among his former employers.
Veteran striker Frode Johnsen, 41, has also registered for Odd in Europe this term but Fagermo is under no illusions as to the size of the task his side face.
The Odd coach said after the draw: “It will be very difficult to advance, because Dortmund are a very strong team.
“Either way, my players will learn a lot from these games.”
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