Borussia Dortmund midfield trio Ilkay Gundogan, Sebastian Kehl and Mario Gotze could be sidelined for Tuesday's game against Fortuna Dusseldorf with a trip to Bayern Munich on the horizon.
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The midfield trio is coping with minor injuries picked up over the last few weeks. Germany international Ilkay Gundogan had to be substituted during the first half of Dortmund's 2-1 victory over Mainz at the weekend. The defensive midfielder suffered a minor ankle strain and a severe bruising of his ankle. "[It's] nothing serious," BVB boss Jurgen Klopp said. "Ilkay is even in good spirits, but time is running out." Germany star Mario Gotze suffered a dead leg in Mainz and could also be rested on Tuesday.
Skipper Sebastian Kehl returned to team training on Monday, but after a knee problem Dusseldorf might come too early for Kehl. Bench players Moritz Leitner and Ivan Perisic could be an option alongside defensive midfield Sven Bender, who will again start despite a nasal bone fracture. "Dusseldorf has become a really good counter-attacking side," BVB boss Klopp warned. "We must be patient and determined." Champions Dortmund can close the gap on Bayern Munich to six points with a win over Dusseldorf, with the league leaders playing at Freiburg on Wednesday.
The two sides will then meet at the Allianz Arena on Saturday in what could prove a pivotal game in the title race this season.
Meanwhile, speaking on the annual shareholders meeting on Monday Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke revealed the club's record post-tax profit of ¬34 million was mostly down to the transfers of Lucas Barrios and Shinji Kagawa. "We are currently building something great here," Watzke said. "And we are getting there by the means of a wise and long-sighted growth policy." Watzke explained that the Bundesliga currently had one iconic brand, Bayern Munich, but by the year 2020 "we have hopefully build another one. And that one will be black and yellow". For the first time since Dortmund issued shares in October 2000 the club paid out dividends to their shareholders - ¬0.06 per share.