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Borussia Dortmund to Sit 5 Players in Europa League Before Bayern Munich Clash

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Manager Thomas Tuchel preserving his stars for the 110th Klassiker.

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Borussia Dortmund are leaving five key players behind when they travel to Greece on Wednesday before their Europa League match against PAOK Saloniki, according to Die Welt.

The Schwarzgelben face their first road test of the group stage on Thursday, but Tuchel will not require the services of Mats Hummels, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ilkay Gündogan, Shinji Kagawa, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. All five will remain in Germany as they prepare for the 110th match vs. Bayern Munich on Sunday.

Dortmund has played more matches than any other German club so far this season, having to play two qualifying rounds for the Europa League. Four of the five players resting – Aubameyang, Gündogan, Hummels, and Papastathopoulos – have played over 1000 minutes this season, and Kagawa is not very far behind with 929. Marcel Schmelzer and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are the only other players with over 1000 minutes this season.

Bayern deployed a similar tactic Tuesday against Dinamo Zagreb, manager Pep Guardiola starting Joshua Kimmich, Kingsley Coman, and Juan Bernat instead of Xabi Alonso, Thomas Müller, and Javi Martinez. Both Müller and Martínez came on as substitutes in the second half, but neither were necessary after the four-goal first half Bayern displayed.

With Dortmund dropping four points in their last two matches, including two at home against recently promoted SV Darmstadt 98, Thomas Tuchel is not taking any chances. A loss to Bayern would put Dortmund seven points behind the Rekordmeister after eight match days, not the desired scenario after winning their first six matches.