Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels and Axel Witsel look set to be fit in time for Tuesday’s Bundesliga big game against leaders Bayern Munich, with the Ruhr valley club attempting to cut the gap and stay in the running for the title.
Second-placed Dortmund, four points behind the Bavarians and without injured captain Marco Reus and defender Dan Axel Zagadou, know that failure to win could prove costly with seven games left in the campaign.
But coach Lucien Favre said central defender Hummels looks set to recover from a heel injury and fit-again midfielder Witsel was back in training.
Hummels was taken off at halftime in Saturday’s 2-0 win at VfL Wolfsburg with a nagging heel injury. Belgium international Witsel has not played since the league restart 10 days ago.
“We will have to see at the last minute but I think it will be alright, 99% Mats will be there,” Favre said on Monday. “Axel trained yesterday with the team again and could be in the squad.”
Dortmund will need all the help they can get against the in-form Bavarians, who like them have won six games in a row including the last two since the Bundesliga resumed following a break of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With games played without fans for health safety reasons, Dortmund, who lost 4-0 at Bayern earlier in the season, will badly be missing the 80,000 crowd at their home stadium on Tuesday.
But Favre said the team was stronger now than earlier in the campaign, following the arrival of Emre Can and Erling Haaland in the winter transfer window.
“We do not think back to that first game. We have forgotten it. We did not play well,” Favre said.
“We now play a system that better fits our squad and we have also brought in Emre Can and Erling Haaland as reinforcements in the winter who have further increased our quality.”
The 19-year-old Haaland has taken the Bundesliga by storm with 10 goals in his first 10 matches so far. Dortmund, however, will also need to stop Bayern from adding to their record haul of 80 goals this season, 27 of which have come from Robert Lewandowski.