Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp admits his side are underdogs but says they can still give Real Madrid a real fright in Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg at the Bernabeu.
Dortmund's much-publicised injury worries, along with the suspension of top scorer Robert Lewandowski, mean the Bundesliga side will take to the field with a very different XI from that which overcame Madrid at the semifinal stage last season.
The German coach told his prematch news conference that he and his players were used to dealing with adversity and planned to make it tough for their opponents.
"I am no magician but we are back here at the quarterfinals despite difficulties,” Klopp said. “We have had difficult situations and are missing important players. We are used to being underdogs. We got through the group stages. We want to be a big obstacle for Madrid, and we will try our best to do that. We need to show cojones [balls]. That’s the only word I know in Spanish!"
Madrid and Dortmund met four times last season, with the Bundesliga side taking four points from six in the group stages, and then winning their semifinal first leg 4-1 at home, before narrowly progressing 4-3 on aggregate after a late return game onslaught by Madrid.
Klopp said that Carlo Ancelotti’s current Blancos side -- with the addition of 100-million-pound Wales winger Gareth Bale -- was a better team than that of Jose Mourinho last term.
"Real Madrid have become more flexible this year,” Klopp said. “In my opinion they are a better team than last season. I have seen a lot of Madrid’s games, they have a lot of quality, they always create goalscoring chances. They have added Bale, [Luka] Modric needed time and has adapted. The speed at which [Angel] Di Maria and Bale play is incredible.”
Knowing Madrid's attacking power, and being without Lewandowski, Dortmund are expected to play on the counter-attack, using the pace of Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“No Robert is not the end of the world,” Klopp said. “We will do everything we can without him, and not use his absence as an excuse. Tomorrow Madrid will probably dominate possession, but we need to use one on one situations. We have speed, nobody should leave us space, if they do, we can hurt them.”