The last time Borussia Dortmund appeared in the UEFA Champions League, they were in the midst of a horrifying run of form domestically. Jurgen Klopp’s side were hovering slightly above the relegation zone in the Bundesliga, with injuries and poor performances the major reasons behind the team’s demise.
Their domestic performances reached a season-low just a few weeks ago when Mats Hummels and Roman Weidenfeller felt compelled to confront angry fans and appeal for calm following a 1-0 home defeat to Augsburg.
Despite their poor form in Germany, Dortmund inexplicably qualified for the Champions League knockout stages as Group D winners over Arsenal.
Fast forward to today and the club’s domestic performances appear to have turned the corner after three consecutive home wins.
Earlier this month, highly sought-after midfielder Marco Reus ended the constant transfer speculation surrounding his future by signing a contract extension which will see him remain at Dortmund until June 2019.
Perhaps buoyed by that news, the team has settled down and steadily improved its league form while jettisoning themselves from the relegation zone in Germany.
Dortmund are now preparing to take on Italian champions Juventus on Tuesday evening in the Champions League Round of 16, and are looking forward to once again measuring themselves up against one of Europe’s top clubs.
“We had troubles at the start of the season, mainly down to the injuries we suffered at the time. Our physical shape has improved,” Klopp said.
“In the Bundesliga we weren’t in peak physical shape. It’s not a mater of motivation, more injuries and bad luck.”
“We can keep improving. We still need to rediscover our consistency in the Bundesliga. We’ll soon be back at the top.”
“Juventus possess plenty of experience and quality. We’ll require a big effort to get through to the next round.”
“We’re motivated to show our worth in this last 16 tie.”
Programming note: Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund will be shown LIVE on Tuesday at 2:45pm EST on FOX Sports 2 and FoxSoccer2Go.
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