Kagawa poised for Dortmund at Leverkusen
30 January 2015, 08:08
Berlin - Japan's Shinji Kagawa is poised to start for Bundesliga strugglers Borussia Dortmund at fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday with his side bidding to escape the relegation places.
Dortmund arrive at Leverkusen's BayArena second from bottom of the Bundesliga after losing 10 of their 17 matches and the 2013 Champions League finalists face a fight to stay in the top flight.
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has Germany winger Marco Reus and Armenia's Heinrikh Mkhitaryan back from injury, but Poland winger Jakob Blaszczykowski is out with a sore throat and Ilkay Gundogan is questionable with a leg strain.
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Defensive midfielders Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender, plus defender Erik Durm are all missing after picking up injuries in Dortmund's friendly matches.
But attacking midfielder Kagawa is an option at Leverkusen having impressed in training since returning to Dortmund after Japan were knocked out of the Asian Cup's quarter-finals a week ago.
"He's made a good impression (in training) and he's already had a bit of a break," said Klopp.
Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could also feature having arrived in Dortmund on Wednesday after his side's exit from the Africa Cup of Nations, but Klopp wants to see how the winger trains.
Klopp has never lost in Leverkusen on all of his six previous visits, but his side face an uphill task to escape the bottom three.
"My mood is very tense, like it would be just before a very difficult exam, but we are in better shape than we were at the start of the season," said Klopp.
"Leverkusen is a very important game, one of 17 very important games for us, but I have been looking forward to this since the final whistle of our last league match at Bremen."