Dortmund's Hummels doubtful to face Shakhtar
DORTMUND, Germany (AFP): Borussia Dortmund‘s German international defender Mats Hummels remained doubtful for Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, second leg clash with Shakhtar Donetsk according to coach Jurgen Klopp on Monday.
Dortmund drew 2-2 with Shakhtar in Donetsk in the first leg thanks to Hummels’ late header and Klopp said a decision on the 24-year-old – who is suffering from flu – will only be made after training on the morning of the game.
“It’s a special situation, he trained yesterday, but we sent him home afterwards to rest,” said Klopp.
“He’ll train again in the morning and we’ll make a decision after that, there’s a bit of hope.”
He has already missed both last Wednesday’s German Cup defeat at Bayern Munich and Saturday’s 3-1 home league win over Hanover 96, with his Brazilian replacement Felipe Santana failing to impress.
Dortmund have a strong home record in Europe this season with group stage wins over Ajax, Manchester City and Real Madrid and midfielder Mario Goetze said the German champions are relishing the challenge.
“It’s an awesome opportunity, we have laid down a good base and we’re all looking forward to the game,” said the 20-year-old German star.
“We know they have plenty of quality up front, we have a small advantage at home and we want to take this great chance.
“It’s a dream for all of us players to have the chance to reach the next round, I dreamed about Champions League games like this as a child.
“It shows how much this team has developed to have reached the last 16 and we can run out with confidence.”
With Dortmund lagging 17 points behind Bayern in the Bundesliga and having been knocked out of the cup by them, Klopp rubbished any notion their season is over if they lose to Shakhtar.
“I have read that if we lose this game it’s a lost season, I find that a bit hard to swallow,” he said.
“We still have the chance to finish second in the Bundesliga, which we could have only dreamed about a few seasons ago.
“It’ll be difficult for both teams, we have a slight advantage, but we can’t take anything for granted.”
This will only be Shakhtar’s third game of 2013 following the draw with Dortmund and Friday’s 4-1 Ukrainian league win over Volyn Lutsk.
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu, 67, has boldly said the winner in Dortmund will go on to reach the Champions League final at Wembley on May 25, while cutting down on mistakes was the key for Donetsk.
“Dortmund will be highly motivated and the team that wins tomorrow will go onto the final, that’s for sure,” insisted the vastly-experienced Romanian.
“They score when teams make mistakes and they profited from our mistakes in Donetsk.
“They play at a very high-tempo, but my team is well prepared. We won’t gift them so many opportunities as we did in the first leg.
“They will make life hard for us and attack from the start, I don’t expect them to sit back and we will have to do our share of defending.”