Dortmunds Klopp jumps to Schmelzers defence
Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has backed defender Marcel Schmelzer to bounce back against Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday after his poor performance for Germany in midweek.
Schmelzer struggled at left-back in Germany's 2-1 win over Austria in a World Cup qualifier in Vienna on Tuesday and was widely criticised here.
On several occasions, Austria's Werder Bremen striker Marko Arnautovic was allowed too much space down Schmelzer's flank, but Klopp says Dortmund's defence will support Schmelzer more than his national teammates did.
"We will do everything to ensure that our left-back does not have to feel exposed," said Klopp, with a subtle dig at the German defence and head coach Joachim Loew.
"When the ball isn't dealt with two, three, four, five times, then he who makes the last mistake is called the idiot.
"We have never understood football like that in Dortmund.
"That is why Marcel is in good hands with us."
Dortmund face two tough home games in quick succession as they host Bayer on Saturday followed by Ajax on Tuesday in their opening Champions League group match.
Dortmund have now gone a year undefeated at home in the Bundesliga and it was Hertha Berlin who last won at Borussia's Signal Iduna Park stadium on September 10, 2011.
Klopp's team have also now gone 30 games without defeat in the German league and are six short of Hamburg's record for the longest single unbeaten run in Bundesliga history set in 1983, but Dortmund aren't resting on their laurels.
"Leverkusen are a good team and belong amongst the favourites for the league," said Klopp, who will have attacking midfielder Marco Reus fit after he picked up a bruised leg while on Germany duty.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be attending the match in Dortmund and Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia says his team are relishing playing the champions.
"We have to take a lot of confidence to Dortmund and be very focused," said the ex-Liverpool star.
"We know that Dortmund are very aggressive, so we have to be willing to match that."
Related Borussia Dortmund News