BVB will break new ground this Tuesday when, for the first time in club history, the Black & Yellows host Barcelona in a Champions League match. Both head coach Lucien Favre and club captain Marco Reus were brimming with anticipation during their pre-match press conference.
''We're obviously excited to be playing against Barcelona,'' said Lucien Favre on Monday afternoon in front of a crowd of journalists, the BVB head coach making it clear that Tuesday night's showdown with the Spanish champions represents a highlight for his squad. Favre also talked of how his own personal history at the Spanish club has had a strong influence on his coaching career: ''In 1991, I spent two weeks shadowing Johan Cruyff. That definitely inspired me.''
''We have to make our mark going forward!''
BVB goalscorer Paco Alcacer also has previous with the Catalan giants: the Torrent-born striker played for Barcelona between 2016 and 2018, making 37 La Liga appearances and scoring 10 goals. He won the domestic double in 2017/18 and the Copa del Rey in 2016/17. When asked whether or not the 26-year-old Spaniard would feel an additional sense of nervousness on Tuesday, BVB captain Marco Reus responded: ''I've had a couple of conversations with Paco. He is coolness personified. It will be a great experience for him and I hope that he can help us get a result tomorrow.'' The 30-year-old Reus was also full of praise for his striking partner's goalscoring prowess, with the club's number nine having got on the scoresheet in every single game so far this season: ''He's an important player for us - an ice-cold finisher who only needs one chance to score, which explains his incredible goal record.''
No-one at BVB is under any illusions about the size of the task at hand in the club's first European encounter of the season: ''We're facing a difficult match tomorrow. We need to be switched on. We have to make our mark going forward, find ways to create chances and, of course, score goals,'' said Reus. Favre also shared his thoughts: ''We have to be fully on our game for 95 minutes. We need to be focused and play with courage going forward. We need to be prepared for all eventualities and be present in the moment.''
''I've always liked the stadium!''
After the Champions League draw at the end of August, superstar Lionel Messi spoke of a ''tough group'' containing Inter, BVB and Slavia Prague: ''We knew that that could happen. We have Dortmund, who we've never played against. I've seen their stadium a few times on TV. I've always liked it, because of the fans and the things the club stands for,'' said Messi in August. There are however question marks regarding the Argentinian's involvement on Tuesday: he is back in full training after recovering from a protracted calf injury and has been named in the matchday squad for the the game, but it may nonetheless be too soon for a return to competitive action.
The match unquestionably comes too soon for BVB defender Nico Schulz, who remains unavailable due to a foot injury. Mateu Morey, who joined Dortmund from Barcelona in the summer, remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. There are also doubts regarding the participation of Lukasz Piszczek (muscle problem), who sat out Saturday's match against Leverkusen.