When asked in the run-up to Tuesday's DFB Cup quarter final (kick-off 20:30 CET) against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim whether the competition would offer his side a platform to end their season on a high note, Jürgen Klopp's answer was resounding: "Yes! The Cup is incredibly important and I want to see that reflected in our game tomorrow."
image Jürgen Klopp
In recent years his charges have always taken the Cup seriously - an indispensable mentality when playing in such a knockout competition. And this season's Cup run has seen Borussia Dortmund brush aside the Stuttgarter Kickers (4-1), FC St. Pauli (3-0) and Dynamo Dresden (2-0) en route to the quarter-finals of the tournament, with Hoffenheim now representing the next challenge on the road to the Berlin showpiece. "Their highly talented team can hardly be described as a dream draw," Klopp declared, before adding: "But it's the task ahead of us."
Last Saturday's Bundesliga encounter with Mönchengladbach saw the Blue and Whites open the scoring before slumping to a 4-1 defeat. But Klopp does not believe the result will have affected their confidence. TSG currently occupy seventh place in the league table, a position which puts the club in contention for a European berth next season.
"One of our few really good games before the winter break"
image BVB's Neven Subotic beats Hoffenheim's Modeste to a header
Hoffenheim will travel to Dortmund for the second time this season, having already lost a Bundesliga encounter at the beginning of December 1-0 through an Ilkay Gündogan strike. Klopp and his coaching staff will surely analyse the match before Tuesday's Cup tie begins. "Hoffenheim's style of play hasn't exactly changed drastically, and we had one of our few really good games before the winter break against them," recalled the BVB coach.
A repeat of December's result would see Klopp's men qualify for the semi-final, with at least one goal required in a knockout match. Such a feat is easier said than done though, with BVB failing to find the net in four of their last five games across all competitions. When asked about his side's difficulties in front of goal, Klopp responded: "We're not worried, but it's on our mind." However, the coach does not consider Saturday's defeat to Bayern Munich as an attacking failure due to their opponents' defensive mindset, saying: "It's normal to not create 20 chances in a match like that." But he did admit: "We had our chances and we were in and around the penalty area on many occasions."
In general terms, the team needs to show more consistency and clarity in front of goal: "We're often lacking in decisiveness when we get into those dangerous areas. It's about how we act around the penalty area. It's a real footballing cliché that you can't score if you don't shoot. So in such situations, we really need to get in more shots at goal."