Thomas Tuchel says keeping the heat on leaders Bayern Munich is a bigger motivation than gaining revenge for the DFB-Pokal final defeat last season when Borussia Dortmund face Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Following consecutive away defeats to Hamburg and Krasnodar, Dortmund got back to winning ways against Stuttgart on Sunday and welcome Pokal holders Wolfsburg to Signal Iduna Park this weekend.
Dortmund were beaten 3-1 by Wolfsburg in the competition’s decider last term – Jurgen Klopp’s final match in charge – but Tuchel insisted earning points rather than revenge is the target for his squad.
“There is a big desire to prove ourselves against Wolfsburg,” explained the former Mainz boss, who will be without Mats Hummels, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Julian Weigl due to illness.
“There is no point dwelling on what-if situations. We will be competitive.
“But I do not like the idea of taking revenge too much. You can’t replay matches. If we play like in Hamburg, we can easily just skip the trip right away.
“I expect a hard-working opposition who defend with discipline and are strong at set-pieces. We need a strong defensive performance to prove ourselves in Wolfsburg.”
Although he will be missing key defensive pair Hummels and Sokratis, Tuchel can call on in-form marksman Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, who has 25 goals to his name in all competitions for Dortmund this season.
And the Gabon international, on target in that Pokal final loss, is approaching the match with a different attitude to his coach.
“For me it is [an opportunity for] revenge,” he said.
“Wolfsburg has a great team and I don’t know whether there is a favourite.
“The hype surrounding me does not bother me. I am only focused on my performances and want to continue to perform well.”