Alright then. Predictable headline. SC Paderborn – It’s the first of Klopp’s last eight games (as Klopp said it himself, already counting the DFB Pokal Final. Cheeky.). Thankfully four out of the last six Bundesliga matches are taken place at the Westfalenstadion, making this a bit more intimate and special. Everyone who remembers the great farewell, that Leonardo Dedé received, can only assume what Dortmund fans will do to see off Klopp on his final stint at BVB. It’ll get emotional.
One could already break down in tears looking at the extended injury list, coming with director’s cut and bonus DVD (and probably rated R for violence). The list is so long, that Jürgen Klopp had to scroll on his phone for quite a while in order to see the whole size of it. Nuri Sahin, Oliver Kirch, Lukasz Piszczek, Neven Subotic and Sebastian Kehl are definitely out for Saturday. Jakub Blaszczykowski, Sven Bender, Kevin Großkreutz, Erik Durm and Marco Reus will train individually for various reasons and are at least doubtful for the match. Neven Subotic suffered a disc prolapse, Sebastian Kehl broke his rip and will miss for at least two weeks. Why on earth can’t they just stay healthy? Especially Kehl, who will also leave the club at the end of the season. The veteran has deserved a massive farewell just as much as Klopp.
So here is a provisional lineup in the good old 4-2-3-1 shape:
Weidenfeller – Schmelzer, Hummels, Sokratis, Passlack – Ginter, Gündogan – Mkhitaryan, Kagawa, Kampl – Aubameyang
Although there is still hope that Reus, Großkreutz, Durm, Blaszczykowski and Bender will feature, it might as well be Milos Jojic next to Gündogan, if Klopp opts for Sokratis to cover the right back position instead. We’ll have to see, but either way Klopp should name a squad, that’s capable of beating SC Paderborn.
Now we all know, that Dortmund has to win this match and the following, if they want to keep things interesting. The Euro League places aren’t far away, but only winning helps. I hope the team seizes the moment and takes the great occasion of Klopp’s departure and the special atmosphere, that will come with it, as extra motivation. Of course nobody knows how the players will react to the news on the pitch, but I’m hopeful they can pull something out the bag – because it hasn’t looked good in the last two matches and we are all longing for a victory to celebrate.
So please let SC Paderborn be back to their hopeless selves, after Breitenreiter’s side picked up a 2-1 win against FC Augsburg – thank you again. Unfortunately for Dortmund, SC Paderborn are not quite as dead and buried as pundits had made out to be. The bottom of the league is so incapable of gaining ground, that one win out of the last seven games propelled the East-Westphalians back to the relegation-play off spot and reinstated this funny beast called hope. Breitenreiter and Paderborn’s club officials were quick to print a t-shirt which says “Let’s stay first class.” Talking about a rekindled fighting spirit. And if we are brutally honest, this match could also be seen as a relegation-fight six-pointer. If Paderborn win, they will only be three points behind Dortmund. As much as it’s fun to look above and count the margins to the Euro League spots, BVB are still in danger to be sucked back in to the ugly relegation scrap.
For the promoted side a match in Dortmund is one of the absolute highlights of the season, so they won’t enter the match with an indifferent attitude… but they haven’t done this anyway, so BVB will have to be prepared to take on the plucky underdogs. What Borussia Dortmund can do though, is creating an intimidating atmosphere. Make Paderborn tremble in their boots when they enter the pitch and then it’s up for the players to take advantage of that. Well, maybe I’m just a dreamer and should manage my own expectations. After all it’s already an achievement if BVB don’t concede within the first minute these days.