DORTMUND, Germany — United States international midfielder Christian Pulisic is doubtful for Friday’s match against Frankfurt.
Pulisic, 19, missed Borussia Dortmund’s scoreless draw in Hannover a fortnight ago and was absent for his national team during the international break due to muscular problems.
“Christian Pulisic is making improvements in his recovery,” Dortmund boss Lucien Favre told his news conference on Wednesday, adding: “but Friday will probably come too soon for him.”
Goalkeeper Roman Burki, who was nursing muscular problems throughout the week has been cleared to play but centre-back Omer Toprak and midfielder Raphael Guerreiro have been ruled out indefinitely with muscular injuries of their own.
The Dortmund coach remained coy on saying whether Dortmund’s latest addition, centre-forward Paco Alcacer, would start from the beginning on Friday.
“Paco likes to combine with his colleagues. He has a scoring threat and the intuition to position himself in dangerous areas. However, we have to integrate him step by step,” the 60-year-old said.
With a barrage of fixtures ahead, the Dortmund coach said there was still a lot of work ahead: “We still have to find our best system and we have to learn which players work in which systems. That will be relevant when we begin to rotate.”
Favre is yet to find a place for Mario Gotze and Shinji Kagawa in his system. The German international has remained on the bench for all 180 minutes in the Bundesliga so far, while the Japan international midfielder was omitted from Friday’s matchday squad.
“Mario Gotze can play centrally. He can play in a 4-3-3 system but that system requires a lot of physicality and athleticism. Thus far we have played with three true midfielders. Again, he can play in that position but it’s also the position where we have the most players for.
“It’s the hardest thing for a coach to tell very good players that they won’t play. But you always have to be honest about it. We have too many players here, I can only call up 18. You have to talk a lot with the players that aren’t in the squad.”
Against Frankfurt, the Black and Yellows are looking for their second win after starting their Bundesliga campaign with a win (4-1 against Leipzig) and a draw (0-0 against Hannover.
“In the last season, Frankfurt played 5-3-2 and 3-4-3. Now they play 4-3-3, 4-4-2 under their new coach [Adi Hutter]. They are very dangerous. They play with one, two touches on the counter and use pressing.”