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Thursday, May 13th, 2021 00:00 |
Striker Erling Braut Haaland.

Berlin, Wednesday

Striker Erling Braut Haaland is expected to return for Borussia Dortmund in Thursday’s German Cup final against RB Leipzig, whose departing coach Julian Nagelsmann wants to sign off with his and the club’s first title.

Haaland returned to training on Tuesday having sat out Saturday’s 3-2 league win over Leipzig with deep bruising as England winger Jadon Sancho scored a superb winner in the cup final rehearsal.

“Even if he (Haaland) plays, I give us a good chance of winning this final,” said Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann, who scored during Saturday’s away league defeat.

Dortmund will be without Switzerland goalkeeper Marwin Hitz, who injured his knee on Saturday and will be replaced in goal by Roman Buerki.

Dortmund are bidding to lift the cup for only the fifth time in the club’s history. Their last win in the final was four years ago when they squeezed past Eintracht Frankfurt.

“It will be very intense again,” Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels said ahead of his eighth cup final, having only won twice.

As Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc told AFP subsidiary SID: “The cup has been around for 85 years, we have won it four times. You don’t lift it every year.”

In contrast, Red Bull-backed Leipzig, who were only founded in 2009, are still chasing a first major title in any competition after a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the 2019 final.

Without or without Haaland, Dortmund are favourites after winning their last five games since losing to Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals.  -AFP

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