Bundesliga Preview: Dortmund v Hoffenheim
Jurgen Klopp's side have suffered a drastically poor 2014-15 campaign domestically and head into the weekend's fixtures propping up a league they won as recently as 2012.
A raft of injuries to key players has not helped the Dortmund cause, though just two wins from six home league games this term tells its own story of the failings at the usually imposing Signal Iduna Park.
Klopp has remained typically bullish in his determination to steer Dortmund back to safety, but has cited routine poor starts - which have seen his side concede first in eight of their 13 games - as an area to improve upon immediately.
He said: "We've got to see in training who is ready to take on this challenge and then I'll pick the team.
"Working and dealing with problems makes you better. I have rarely had to deal with as many as I have at the moment.
"Too often we've gone behind in games, and that's why we've lost a lot of games. Our manner when we're losing isn't good."
Though wary of letting goals in at the wrong end, Hoffenheim's highly unpredictable nature may give Klopp some comfort if his side do concede on Friday.
Having gone the first nine games of their league season undefeated, Markus Gisdol's men were brought back to earth with three straight losses which saw 11 goals concede.
A porous defence also let in Hannover three times last week, but their potent attack fired to secure a 4-3 success.
The previous two meetings between the sides in Dortmund have been packed with incident.
Last season's clash acted as Robert Lewandowski's farewell to the Westfalenstadion and saw the hosts overturn Roberto Firmino's effort with three goals in a whirlwind five-minute spell to eventually prevail 3-2.
The final day of the 2012-13 campaign also saw the pair go head-to-head as a brace of Sejad Salihovic penalties in the final 15 minutes kept Hoffenheim out of the automatic relegation zone.
With the roles reversed this term, though, Klopp remains without some of his top stars. Marco Reus is once again suffering from ankle injuries, while Sokratis Papastathopoulos (broken fibula) and Ji Dong-won (knee) are set to miss the game.
Mats Hummels and Jakub Blaszczykowski returned to training this week to boost Klopp, while Gisdol has had his goalkeeping options supplemented by Koen Casteels' comeback from a broken leg in an outing for the Under-23 side this week, though new first choice Oliver Baumann will likely remain in goal.
The visitors will definitely without the suspended Adam Szalai, with Gisdol sweating over the fitness of Sven Schipplock (groin) and Pirmin Schwegler (thigh).