Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel expects his club’s fans to get behind Mario Gotze when he makes his return to the line-up in the German Supercup on Sunday.
Gotze returned to Dortmund from Bayern Munich this summer, three years after leaving the Westphalians to move south.
His departure angered many Dortmund fans, many of whom do not appear to have welcomed his return, but Tuchel is sure they will put any animosity to one side and back the Germany midfielder when Dortmund host Bayern on Sunday.
“Mario is a Dortmund player and he’s going to be supported by our fans, and that is what I expect today and also tomorrow,” said Tuchel, who is counting on the World Cup-winning goalscorer to inspire his team to victory.
“This is more than a warm-up game – it’s a final which we have deserved to be involved in.
“All that is going on around this fixture make it a special game. We have high expectations.”
Tuchel nevertheless is not expecting the game to provide any indications as to whether his side have closed the gap on Bayern, who have won the past four Bundesliga titles.
“It’s going to be hard to break Bayern’s dominance because they are still so far ahead,” he said.
“They’ve now signed Mats Hummels and not lost any of their regulars either. We’re more focused on (Bayer) Leverkusen as our main rivals in the race for a place in the Champions League, and Gladbach.”
Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Hummels should make his Bayern debut against his former club, but he insists the return to the Westfalenstadion as an opponent will not be a problem for him.
“Hummels has a lot of experience and I don’t think the occasion will get to him,” the Italian said.
“He’s looked good this week. He’s relaxed and focused and I think he’ll have a good game (on Sunday).”
Ancelotti is without the injured Arjen Robben and Renato Sanches for his first game in German football.
The Bayern boss will be looking to add the Supercup to his long list of trophies, with the Bavarians bidding to end a three-year wait to lift the pre-season trophy, having been beaten twice by Dortmund in that period.