Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is braced for a difficult start to the Bundesliga season in a landmark clash with Bayer Leverkusen.
Klopp will become Dortmund's longest-serving coach when he takes charge of Saturday's clash at Signal Iduna Park, having been appointed in 2008.
The charismatic tactician is set to break Ottmar Hitzfeld's record tenure at Dortmund and there will be a sell-out crowd to mark the occasion for a mouth-watering first league game of the campaign.
Dortmund finished 19 points adrift of champions Bayern Munich last season and have since lost prolific striker Robert Lewandowski to the Bavarian giants, so Klopp will be looking to new signings Adrian Ramos and Ciro Immobile to provide some firepower.
Klopp masterminded a 2-0 victory over Bayern to win the DFL Supercup last week and his side then coasted to a 4-1 win over Stuttgarter Kickers in the first round of the DFB Pokal.
Dortmund now turn their attentions to facing a Leverkusen side starting a new era under head coach Roger Schmidt and Klopp knows the visitors, who finished fourth last season, will pose a real threat.
He said: "Bayer were in the past few years always a difficult opponent - but we were. Before the opening game on Saturday, it's not about thinking about who is as far in the preparation, but who can prepare more problems."
Klopp revealed that Nuri Sahin (knee) is closing in on a return, but the game is expected to come too soon for the midfielder.
Oliver Kirch (thigh) and Ji Dong-won (hamstring) will play no part after sustaining injuries in training this week, but Erik Durm (illness) should be available.
Schmidt is relishing his first Bundesliga game in charge of Leverkusen, who won the corresponding fixture 1-0 last season, after being appointed as Sami Hyypia's successor.
"We want to put on a top display. The team can hardly wait to get started. We're starting with one of the most attractive away games of the season," he said.
"We're up against an opponent with their main strengths in the ability to switch play and press the ball. I watched the opposition live at the Supercup. They have already done that very well.
"We want to build on our performances in the first competitive games and do everything we can to get a result at Dortmund.
"I'm sure I'll be able to enjoy the match if we play with courage and conviction."
Lars Bender could make a welcome return for the visitors after recovering from a thigh injury, while Kyriakos Papadopoulos is also in contention to make his debut following his loan move Schalke.comments