Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that head coach Lucien Favre will be without defender Nico Schulz and striker Paco Alcacer for the Bundesliga outfit’s Champions League clash with Slavia Prague tonight.
BVB travel to the Czech Republic looking to record their first win in Europe of the campaign, having been held to a goalless draw by FC Barcelona in the opening Group F fixture, after Marc Andre ter Stegen dove to his left to deny Marco Reus from the spot.
Schulz joined Dortmund from TSG Hoffenheim for £22million (Mirror) in May, but has been forced to watch the action from the sidelines since early September after sustaining a partial ligament tear to a tarsal in his left foot while on international duty with Germany.
Alcacer, meanwhile, has been ruled out of Wednesday night’s Champions League clash after picking up an injury to his Achilles tendon during BVB’s Bundesliga tie with Werder Bremen last Saturday.
The duo’s absence comes as a blow to manager Favre, who has seen his side fail to convert leads into three points in the Westfalenstadion natives’ last two top flight fixtures.
Favre now faces a challenging call over who will step in to replace Alcacer, with Mario Gotze the most likely having started against Bremen before being replaced by the Spaniard in the 72nd minute
Achraf Hakimi started against Bremen in place of Schulz and the 20-year-old can expect to line up alongside Mats Hummels after the experienced centre-back overcame his back injury (Ruhr Nachrichten) to fly to the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
Under-23s duo Mateu Morey and Leonardo Balerdi were also in attendance as the Dortmund squad travelled.
Gotze had struggled to leave a mark on Dortmund’s Bundesliga season going into the weekend’s fixture at home to Werder Bremen, as the 2014 World Cup winner had only made two substitute outings totalling 26 minutes (WhoScored) before being handed a starting role on Saturday.
Favre would have been somewhat buoyed to see how well Gotze performed at the Signal Iduna Park, as the 27-year-old hit his first goal in any competition since May (TransferMarkt), and coupled it with a performance that featured the second-most shots of any Dortmund player and the most successful tackles of any BVB man outside of their defence (WhoScored).
Slavia Prague will look to limit Gotze’s chances on Wednesday, though, as the Czech side have restricted just 25% of play to be carried out in their defensive third, and have looked to focus their attacks on the wings (WhoScored), putting a greater emphasis on the likes of Hakimi, Lukasz Piszczek, Thorgan Hazard and Jadon Sancho.
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