Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel expects a tough test against a Liverpool side who sit ninth in the English Premier League. Dortmund are eager to put talk of former coach Klopp aside and avoid distraction.
Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel says he hasn't made special plans for the first leg of his side's Europa League quarterfinal tie against Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool on Thursday.
Dortmund are guaranteed a place in next season's Champions League already thanks to their 22 point lead over fifth placed Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga table. And with Bayern Munich showing few signs of slipping up in the title race, BVB may focus their attention on the Europa League.
Tuchel, who replaced Klopp at Mainz as well as Dortmund, expects the Liverpool coach to be given a warm welcome, and admitted his side needs to put their emotions to one side in order to win.
"I don't think we need to prepare differently," said Tuchel at a press conference. "From the start, we were calm about the draw and the situation. After the draw, we made very detailed appraisal of the opposition like we did with Tottenham. I think we've got stronger and Liverpool have: we're going to face two very tough games."
Tuchel is enjoying his first season at the club following the departure of Klopp in 2015 after eight highly-successful years at the Westfalenstadion. When asked about the changes he's made since replacing Klopp, Tuchel said: "I don't like to talk about this or that approach. I think the issues come down to the players and their abilities. So it's the relationship you build up with the players and developing their strengths.
"In a sense, that is us coming together for the same purpose. Of course, we are where we are and at this club Klopp played a big part in the development and if it's eight months or eight years, that development will still stand."
Key trio should be fit
Klopp's return to Dortmund has dominated headlines in the German media, with one German broadcaster set to employ a 'Klopp-Cam' which will allow fans to pay closer attention to the 48-year-old. The yellow-and-blacks, however, seem keen to distance themselves from the subject of re-union as much as possible.
Gonzalo Castro, one of the new recruits who didn't play under Klopp, added that the Bundesliga side need to focus on replicating the performance that saw them comfortably beat Tottenham 5-1 on aggregate in the last 16.
"What we need to do is perform well," Castro told reporters. "We can forget about Klopp for the moment. What we need to do is produce two good performances over 90 minutes and aim to be the better side, as we showed home and away against Tottenham.
"It's not the first time players have come up against their former manager, so I don't know if that's an advantage or disadvantage for Liverpool. We play a different type of football under Tuchel and we will focus on our own performances."
Dortmund were given a major boost when injury doubts Mats Hummels and Sokratis Papastathopoulos came through training unscathed. Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan missed the 3-2 win over Bremen and despite training this week, could still be a doubt for Liverpool's visit. "He started training yesterday and trained at higher intensity today. It's tight, but we'll see what happens," Tuchel said.