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Aug 22, 2014

Immobile: Bundesliga best in Europe

Borussia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp is expecting a tough test from Bayer Leverkusen in their season opener.

Ciro Immobile is preparing to make his Bundesliga debut this weekend, saying he is happy with the progress he is making in "the best league in Europe."

- Buczko: Deja vu for BVB in Leverkusen opener

The Italy international says he is adapting well to playing in a new language and under a new manager in Jurgen Klopp.

"One night, [Sebastian Kehl] arrived with a list of words that I had to learn," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It's good to be able to understand the terms used out on the field. I'm coming along well. Massimo, my interpreter, only helps me when Klopp's talking, but not even the Germans can understand him.

"He speaks too quickly and he even swore in Italian the other day, although not at me."

According to Germany's kicker magazine, Klopp has not necessarily been that satisfied with Immobile's work, claiming that the former Torino forward is finding it hard to adapt to the tactics and instructions he is being given.

"That's a load of rubbish -- I worked under [Zdenek] Zeman [at Pescara] so how could I struggle?" Immobile said.

"Training is different here with lots of technical work within the same exercise. In Italy, we do a lot of counter-pressing in one exercise, then shooting in another. Here, it's all together. They've modernised tactically and you have to run more too."

Running is necessary to burn off the extra fat Immobile says he risks putting on as part of his new lifestyle.

"They eat more and more often too," he said. "They eat at lunch, after training, after a journey; they're always eating. I wasn't used to eating after training, and I'm not talking about a small snack either -- they have a full plate of pasta."

That will all provide fuel to help Dortmund keep up the chase of Bayern this season. "We're not far off them," Immobile said. "People don't like to talk much about them here because they are the rivals who bother us the most, but we're going to challenge them.

"I'm playing in the best league in Europe."

Klopp, meanwhile, has warned his injury-stricken team that Bayer Leverkusen will be an awkward opponent in the first Bundesliga match of the season on Saturday.

The German Super Cup winners take on Bayer Leverkusen at the Westfalenstadion in a rematch of their 2010-11 season opener on Saturday.

Four years ago, BVB lost 2-0 at home, and went on to remain undefeated in the next 15 games before lifting the league title at the end of the campaign.

Four years on, Borussia Dortmund go into the clash against Bayer Leverkusen as firm favourites, but will have a number of players unavailable for selection.

Veteran midfielder Oliver Kirch is sidelined for eight weeks with a torn thigh muscle, while new signings Ji Dong-Won and left-back Marcel Schmelzer are also out injured with muscle injuries. The new attacker Adrian Ramos is also out with minor knee problems.

World Cup winner Erik Durm did not train for most of the week, and the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Nuri Sahin are still working on their comebacks.

Centre-back Mats Hummels and Roman Weidenfeller are also major doubts.

"Mats needs a bit more training, and he will get it," Klopp told a news conference on Thursday about Hummels, who only returned to team training last week, "Especially since this position is the least of our problems."

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