Domenico Tedesco: We need passion, but also a clear mind

The 152nd derby in all competitions is also Domenico Tedesco’s first home match against the black and yellow team. The Royal Blues’ head coach was aware of the meaning and importance of the derby to the club, the fans and the general public in the region as well as far away well before the historic 4-4 game in the reverse fixture. “It’s simply the mother of all derbies,” says the 32-year-old ahead of Sunday’s clash (14th April, KO 15:30 CEST) in the VELTINS-Arena.

“It’s a clash between two teams who both want nothing less than a win,” says Tedesco and adds that this is excellent for an exciting game. He expects the game to be decided on fine margins. “We want to play with confidence so that after the match, we can say that we gave our absolute all on the pitch,” he gives his word, then adds: “We need passion, but also a clear mind.”

No tricks up his sleeve

Tedesco said in the build-up to the showdown against Dortmund that he does not need to have any tricks up his sleeve as the team can barely wait for the match. “Also, the loss against Hamburg showed us that 99% effort is not enough. We have to give our absolute best in every game,” says the head coach.

Tedesco has not forgotten the surreal match in the first half of the season when the Knappen went into the break 4-0 down and came back to draw 4-4. However, he also warns against drawing overconfidence from that comeback and says: “It’s a completely different game.”

It’s a clash between two teams who both want nothing less than a win.

Domenico Tedesco

Tedesco doesn’t understand talk of a BVB crisis

Tedesco has great respect for Sunday’s opponents, who are only a point behind the Royal Blues in the table. “I’ve been reading and hearing about BVB being in a crisis a lot lately,” he says. “But I see it differently. Our opponents have only lost one Bundesliga game under Peter Stöger, which puts them far from a crisis in my eyes.”

The Royal Blues head coach thinks that the derby rivals have stabilised under Stöger, who took over the team in December last year when the club were in a difficult phase.

Nastasić out until the end of the season

The Knappen will have to do without Matija Nastasić. The Serbian player was shown his fifth yellow card of the season in Hamburg. However, he also cannot play due to picking up a knee injury and will miss the remainder of the season. “It’s extremely disappointing for us because Mati was playing well,” explains Tedesco. “But we’ll be able to cope without him for a while and cross our fingers that he’ll be on his feet again soon.”

Otherwise, the Royal Blues have almost a full squad for the derby. The only question marks are over Breel Embolo as the Swiss player has picked up a slight muscle strain, but it wouldn’t be too surprising if he can play. “We have two training sessions remaining and then we’ll assess whether he’s match-fit or not,” says Tedesco.

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