Thomas Tuchel wants to see a reaction to the frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool when Borussia Dortmund visit Schalke in the Ruhr Derby on Sunday.
Dortmund had to come from behind to earn a draw in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, in what was an emotional reunion with former coach Jurgen Klopp.
BVB are second in the Bundesliga, 19 points clear of third-placed Hertha Berlin and already assured of automatic Champions League qualification.
And while they could perhaps still catch up to league leaders Bayern Munich, who are five points clear at the top, emerging victorious from the second leg at Anfield next Thursday is the team’s immediate priority.
There are set to be changes to the starting XI for the trip to Veltins Arena this weekend as a consequence, but Tuchel has no intention of gifting bragging rights to Dortmund’s local rivals.
“We absolutely want to win,” he said. “We also have to manage the physical condition [of the players] very carefully.
“There will be changes, but we will still put a good team out there nevertheless. Liverpool, Schalke, Liverpool – it not only causes a physical strain but also a level of emotional stress.
“We have been full of anticipation for these games. But it is important that we find a way to enjoy these games and relieve ourselves of pressure and our own expectations.
“These are all games to be enjoyed. Perhaps we will already see a reaction to the 1-1 draw against Liverpool on Sunday.”
Schalke are seventh after an inconsistent season but could yet qualify for the Champions League automatically, with Hertha only four points ahead.
They lost 3-0 away to Ingolstadt last time out, leaving Joel Matip, who is set to depart for Liverpool at the end of the season, determined to produce an improved performance in his final Ruhr derby.
“We’re meeting our biggest rivals and will give everything to achieve a positive result,” he said.
“At the end of the day a win only gets you three points, but every one of us knows how significant a derby is. I’m looking forward to the match and will give everything to ensure that we come off the pitch as winners.”
Leon Goretzka has been ruled out of the game for Schalke due to a shoulder problem, joining long-term injury victims Matija Nastasic (Achilles), Marco Hoger (cruciate ligament) and Atsuto Uchida (knee) on the sidelines. Benedikt Howedes, though, is nearing a return from the thigh tendon issue he suffered in January.
Dortmund, who won the first Ruhr derby of the season 3-2 in November, are still without Neven Subotic (thrombosis), but Ilkay Gundogan could soon be back from a foot knock picked up at home to Bayern Munich last month.
Key Opta stats:
– Of the 52 eventual Bundesliga champions, 49 have had fewer points on the board after 28 games (converted to the three-points-for-a-win system where appropriate) than Dortmund currently do. Only three sides have had more points (Bayern Munich in each of the last three seasons).
– Dortmund have won five games after falling behind this term – including last weekend’s 3-2 home victory over Werder Bremen.
– Dortmund have conceded just five goals in their 11 league games in 2016. They have kept seven clean sheets this year – three more than they managed in the first half of the campaign.
– Henrikh Mkhitaryan has recorded more assists than any other player in 2015-16 (12) and has created a league-high 74 chances (same as Pascal Gross).
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