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Dortmund could have had tougher opponents than Salzburg - Stoger

Peter Stoger, the Borussia Dortmund coach, is looking forward to facing Salzburg but called for focus despite them being favourites.

NEWS
07 Mar 2018, 19:17 IST
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Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Stoger

Borussia Dortmund are not taking Salzburg lightly in the Europa League last 16, even if Peter Stoger believes the minimal travel implications make this a kind draw for his side.

The two sides will meet for the first time on Thursday, with the first leg played at Signal Iduna Park before the relatively short return trip to Austria.

Stoger's team are among the favourites to win the competition, but they remain focused for the visit of Salzburg despite off-the-pitch protests over their opponents' Red Bull ownership.

Bundesliga clubs have railed against RB Leipzig's ownership model, while Dortmund are reportedly now refusing to sell half-and-half scarves that display the badge of sister club Salzburg.

"I am looking forward to this game," Stoger told a pre-match news conference. "At home, of course, you look forward to it a bit more, but it is no different.

"With our current workload, it is an advantage to have a short distance [to travel]. There could have been much more complex opponents.

"We do not want to emphasise our role as favourites. We know about our quality, we can judge the opponent. The backdrop to this game will not be a problem."

Captain Marcel Schmelzer added: "We are taking this competition very seriously, but you can't just say that we're going to win.

"We have to take every round seriously because there are many top-class opponents."

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