BV Borussia Dortmund are hoping for a win against FC Lokomotiv Moskva and a slip-up in Madrid.
By Manfred Christoph
BV Borussia Dortmund enter their final second group stage game at the Westfalenstadion knowing that their continued participation in this season's UEFA Champions League could depend on their overcoming FC Lokomotiv Moskva - while hoping Real Madrid CF fail to beat AC Milan at home.
Madrid's last-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Dortmund two weeks ago was a severe blow for coach Matthias Sammer's side as it meant their Champions League destiny was no longer in their own hands. They currently occupy third place in Group C, a point behind Madrid, yet maintain hope of securing the necessary points from the two remaining matches to prematurely release Madrid's grasp on the trophy.
Sammer said: "I am hoping for an attractive match although I am fearful against what is a very well-organised team defensively.
I believe it will be a tight match but we definitely need a win, and we have to go out there and look to get the first goal." However, the Dortmund coach will be without injured midfield players Tomáš Rosický and Jörg Heinrich for the game.
Heinrich is sidelined for two months with torn knee ligaments sustained in the 1-0 1. Bundesliga defeat at VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach at the weekend. Meanwhile, Sammer confirmed that the 22-year-old Rosický is recovering from a thigh strain, and while he has resumed light jogging, the Czech international will not be available for selection. "Tomáš won't be at our disposal against Moskva," said Sammer.
Sammer can call upon experienced defender and club captain Stefan Reuter, who has recovered from a foot injury, and midfield player Lars Ricken who has been suffering with a back problem. Despite the league defeat at Mönchengladbach which left them 13 points behind leaders FC Bayern München, defender Sebastian Kehl believes Dortmund can turn that setback to their advantage.
"What happened at Bökelberg [Mönchengladbach's stadium] was difficult to take but it was just the sort of wake-up call he needed," Kehl said. His fellow defender, Christoph Metzelder, pointed to the fact that domestic slip-ups had not been mirrored on European nights and he expected a positive result against the group's bottom side. "The Champions League is a totally different competition from the domestic league and I think we have a good chance against Moskva," he said.
Lokomotiv, buoyed by their weekend victory over PFC CSKA Moskva in the Russian Super Cup, still have a mathematical chance of progressing despite having just one point to their name. But defeat in Germany would extinguish those hopes and coach Yuri Semin admitted: "
We know that we have no chance of qualifying".
Motivation not a problem
However, Semin promised his players would be "highly motivated for the Champions League", and added: "Dortmund are much stronger and we are facing problems in attack. However, we will fight to the end."