After reaching a German Cup semifinal in the week, Borussia Dortmund's busy schedule continues as they face Hannover on matchday 21. There are some concerns about a key attacker though.
"The cup game cost us a lot of energy, but that was Tuesday. Now it's Saturday and our batteries are recharged," said a spritely Thomas Tuchel on Friday ahead of Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga encounter against strugglers Hannover.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has already beaten his goal tally from last season (16) by four goals and is enjoying a battle for top spot in the scorers chart with former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski. The Gabon international may not be part of Dortmund's team on the weekend, though. "Auba picked up a knock in Stuttgart. He's training but we'll have to wait and see," said Tuchel.
Despite appointing a new head coach and signing five new players in January, Hannover are in real trouble at the bottom of the table. Tuchel doesn't believe Hannover's current plight was foreseeable and insists that the focus lies on his own team's preparation and not the table position of the opposition.
The BVB head coach does predict a tricky game on the weekend, though. "It's hard to adjust for Hannover, as their line-up and style of play will be hard to predict," said Tuchel. If Hannover are to pick up a surprise point or more, they will have to do so without Hugo Almeida (sick) and Adam Szalai (muscle tear).
The subject of Ilkay Gündogan's contract, which runs out in the summer of 2017, was also raised. "I want to say Ilkay is staying until 2026, but that's not the case. We are in talks and we have a good chance," said Tuchel.
There was even time for Tuchel to be asked about the possible German Cup reforms. The Dortmund boss approved of the suggested changes, finishing the press conference with a smile, saying: "Dortmund and Bayern should join in the semifinal."