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02 October 2023

Dortmund's Langerak to start if Weidenfeller fails


Australia's Mitchell Langerak could make only his second Bundesliga appearance for German champions Borussia Dortmund at Hamburg on Sunday with first-choice goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller doubtful.

Langerak, who was part of the Socceroos' squad which enjoyed a shock 2-1 friendly win over Germany in March 2011, will be between the posts for Dortmund in Hamburg if Weidenfeller fails to recover from back pains.

The former Melbourne Victory shot-stopper has only just returned from fitness after damaging stomach muscles during Dortmund's training camp in La Manga, Spain, but insists he is ready to play.

"Roman hasn't trained, so Mitchell Langerak is back in the picture after his injury, he is our first option," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.

Langerak has made a cup appearance this season when he kept a clean sheet against second-division Dynamo Dresden in Dortmund's 2-0 second-round victory last October.

Reserve goalkeeper Langerak has made just one league appearance for Dortmund when he helped Borussia enjoy a crucial 3-1 win at Bayern Munich last February as Borussia went on to win the league title by seven points last season.

In Hamburg, Dortmund will be without Germany's teenage star midfielder Mario Goetze, who is out with a groin strain.

Second-placed Dortmund are three points behind league leaders Bayern as the Bundesliga starts the second phase of the season after the winter break and the Bavarian giants are at fourth-placed Moenchengladbach on Friday.

Klopp says Dortmund are ready and waiting should Bayern stumble, but acknowledges they may not catch the Bavarians, even with rising star midfielder Marco Reus set to join Dortmund from Moenchengladbach next season.

"The role of Borussia Dortmund has changed and we now find ourselves being compared to Bayern Munich, rather than as outsiders for the title," said Klopp.

"It could be a long time before Bayern stumble, perhaps they won't.

"We may not reach their level, not even with Marco Reus joining us next season."

Dortmund began their season with a 3-1 win over Hamburg at home back in August, but Klopp says the battle for places at the top of the table remains tight with four points separating the top four teams.

"I guess the battle at the top of the table is as tight as it looks on paper," said Klopp, with the top four Bundesliga teams qualifying for the Champions League next season.

"We know Schalke, Bremen and 'Gladbach will have a say in how the European places are decided."