Borussia Dortmund will be missing a ton of key pieces ahead of its UEFA Champions League rematch against Real Madrid, but manager Jurgen Klopp is not looking for excuses ahead of the tie.
He warned that he’s not a magician, and Klopp will be facing the first leg without suspended superstar striker Robert Lewandowski, as well as standouts Neven Subotic, Sven Bender, Ilkay Gundogan, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Marcel Schmelzer.
But he knows what his side is capable of, having dismissed El Real on the road to last year’s final against Bayern Munich.
“”If we want, we can be the biggest barrier that Real Madrid have had up to now,” the manager said. “I am not a magician but we are here again having overcome all adversaries we have had so far. We have a few more injuries now but at the same time those who don’t play often will grow. We have become quicker and if they give us space then we can cause them damage.”
And Klopp’s team is relishing the idea that a Champions League finalist could be viewed as underdog for the quarterfinals against a team they’ve beaten in a tie last year that still makes Marco Reus’ “hair stand on end” upon recollection:
“And for the Champions League, I think Bayern, Barça and Real are the strongest. There might be a surprise team, and that could be us, like last year. We are a team with a very strong winning mentality.”
The match kicks off at 2:45pm ET from the Bernabéu, with leg two on Tuesday in Germany.