Schmelzer back in Dortmund contention
Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Stoger has suggested captain Marcel Schmelzer has a chance to feature against Werder Bremen on Sunday, after his surprise axe last week.
The long-serving left-back was dropped for Dortmund's 4-0 victory over top-four rivals Bayer Leverkusen last time out after a run of poor performances.
Manuel Akanji deputised in his place and performed well but Stoger told his pre-match news conference that Schmelzer had shown a reaction in training this week.
Stoger said of Schmelzer: "Obviously, players that sit on the stands are not in the best mood. He's shown a reaction on the training ground."
However, the Dortmund boss added that it is difficult to make changes following a 4-0 win in comments that suggest Akanji could still play ahead of the Germany international.
"After the 4-0 there are not a lot of arguments to change the team," he added.
"Obviously, the decision who starts also has to do with the opponent and the variety of options we have."
Third-placed Dortmund boast a three-point advantage over Leverkusen heading into this weekend's fixtures and Stoger is confident about his side's chances of qualifying automatically for the Champions League, as well as potentially catching Schalke, who sit two clear of them.
He continued: "Defending third place is in our own hands. We obviously try to claim second place but that's not in our own hands.
"I always hope that you can see a steady development but it's not so easy to do that during a running campaign.
"Now we want to prepare the team in the way so they are ready to play Champions League football."