Berlin: Borussia Dortmund and their under-fire coach Lucien Favre hope to maintain the 'feel-good' factor from back-to-back wins as they chase Champions League revenge at home to Inter Milan on Tuesday.
A below-par performance saw Dortmund crash to a 2-0 defeat in Milan nearly a fortnight ago, sparking reports Jose Mourinho was waiting in the wings to replace Favre unless results improved, which the club subsequently denied.
The German media piled into Favre after forward Lautaro Martinez gave Inter a first-half lead, then had a late penalty saved, before winger Antonio Candreva raced clear to seal Dortmund's defeat at the San Siro.
Favre's team were short of ideas against a water-tight defence and only Roman Burki's fine save from Martinez's penalty prevented a rout in Milan.
Dortmund have since improved but are under pressure to beat Inter at home in order to stay on course for the knock-out phase.
A goalless draw at Schalke was backed-up by dumping Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach out of the German Cup in midweek before trouncing Wolfsburg 3-0 last Saturday in the league.
"We get a boost when we play at home, we're already beaten very good teams here and are confident," said winger Julian Brandt in Monday's press conference, hoping Signal Iduna Park will be a helping factor.
With one eye on the Italians, Favre said it was "nice to see" his side has broken their recent habit of conceding late goals amid nervous defending following the victory over Wolfsburg.
However, "we need a win," insisted sports director Michael Zorc, who hoped beating Wolfsburg "will give us the necessary self-confidence", especially with a crunch Bundesliga tie at Bayern Munich looming on Saturday.
Both Inter and Dortmund come into Tuesday's tie on four points from three games, each with a win, a defeat and draw. Dortmund must repeat the rock-solid defending in their goalless draw at home to Barcelona in September to contain Inter's attack.
Inter coach Antonio Conte said his side have not come to Dortmund to defend.
"Whoever expects a defensive game from us is wrong," said Conte.
"If we play on the defensive, it will only benefit Dortmund. The atmosphere will be electric and Dortmund fans know how to create an environment that drags the home team along. It will require us to also show our personality," he added.
Conte revealed that Inter will be without defender Danilo D'Ambrosio, plus midfielders Kwadwo Asamoah and Roberto Gagliardini, but central midfielder Stefano Sensi has recovered from a groin knock.
The main injury concern in the Dortmund camp is the chief playmaker and Germany star Marco Reus, who also missed the away defeat in Milan and is struggling with a foot injury he suffered on Saturday.
"I don't know whether Marco is ready to play, we'll have to see after training today or tomorrow," said Favre on Monday.
Both clubs meet at Signal Iduna Park second in their respective leagues after Inter's burly Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice in Saturday's 2-1 win at Bologna to leave his side a point behind Juventus in Serie A.
Despite two wins inside a week, Dortmund must take three points to calm fears of a group stage exit. "Now Favre has to win," demanded Germany's top-selling daily Bild, especially with group leaders Barcelona at home to bottom side Slavia Prague on Tuesday.
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Updated Date: Nov 05, 2019 12:42:54 IST