18 September 2014 18:37
Jurgen Klopp returns to former club Mainz with his Borussia Dortmund side in fine form after UEFA Champions League success on Tuesday.
Klopp – a player and coach for Mainz prior to his move to Signal Iduna Park – has seen his charges put together a three-game winning run.
Having lost their Bundesliga opener to Bayer Leverkusen, Dortmund went on to beat Augsburg and Freiburg in the top flight before overcoming Arsenal in Europe.
A performance Klopp described as “perfection” helped see off the Premier League side in convincing fashion with Ciro Immobile and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on target for the hosts.
The scoreline could perhaps have been greater, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Kevin Grosskreutz also going close as Dortmund hit top gear – an ominous sign for Kasper Hjulmand’s side.
Klopp heads to the Coface Arena seeking to keep pace with the top three and the German tactician is in no mood to be charitable to his former employers.
“I do not begrudge this club 32 strong games a year but twice a season I want to beat them,” he said.
“They already have [Dortmund loanee] Jonas Hofmann from us, that should be enough for now. I’m happy for Mainz, but I’d still rather go home with three points in the bag.
“They have a footballing approach but when under pressure they can also use long balls.
“Against [Hertha] Berlin, Mainz were the better team [in their 3-1 win] and got the goals at the right moments. They deservedly won the game and we must be well prepared to pose major problems [for] our opponents.”
Former Nordsjaelland boss Hjulmand has made a strong start to life at the Coface, having replaced Thomas Tuchel at the end of a successful 2013-14 season.
Under Tuchel, Mainz finished seventh last term and, while they failed to negotiate UEFA Europa League qualification, Hjulmand’s side are unbeaten domestically and have taken five points from three Bundesliga games this season.
The Dane feels his charges need to embrace their underdog status this weekend if they are to spring a surprise on Dortmund.
“We need to have confidence in our quality [and play to the team’s strengths] – then we are dangerous to everyone,” he said.
“We are the underdogs and that’s good.”
Klopp will be without midfielder Ilkay Gundogan (back) and defender Mats Hummels, who has only recently returned to team training having not played since the World Cup final.
Hjulmand will hope to see continued fine form from Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki – who jointly tops the Bundesliga scoring charts with three goals from as many games.