David Moyes is looking for a physical improvement from his Sunderland players in an “enormous test” against Borussia Dortmund tomorrow.
Sunderland face their final pre-season outing against Bundesliga giants Dortmund tomorrow night (5.45pm kick-off UK time) as the Black Cats look to maintain their unbeaten record from the friendly programme.
The paper-thin nature of the Sunderland squad has allowed Moyes’s first-teamers plenty of opportunity to get game-time during the five friendlies – four of which have culminated in victory for the Black Cats.
However, Moyes still believes Sunderland have more work to do before they are ready for the Premier League opener at Manchester City, who beat Dortmund on penalties in the International Champions Cup friendly last week.
“It (tomorrow’s game) will provide an enormous test of what we’ve got because Dortmund are a really good side,” said Moyes.
“And their results in pre-season have been good.
“For many reasons, you get the illusion that the German teams are better prepared at this stage of the season.
“We’re not there yet, we’ve got a good bit to go.
“We have to get players at a better physical condition and we have to get players that are more robust, who can fight through it when they’ve got one or two injuries.
“That’s part of football and a long season in the Premier League demands that.”
Jermain Defoe could travel with the rest of the Sunderland squad to Austria today after a thigh injury – which kept him out of all three friendlies in France last week – was not as serious as first feared.
Jack Rodwell and Patrick van Aanholt could also feature against Dortmund after they were not risked in Saturday’s draw with Montpellier due to minor niggles.
But Jan Kirchhoff is due to remain on Wearside after suffering a concerning hamstring injury against Montpellier which could see him miss the start of the season.
Sunderland have met Borussia Dortmund just once before, back in October, 1954, in a floodlit Roker Park friendly.
Wolfgang Peters gave the Germans an early lead, but Sunderland hit back thanks to Ken Chisholm. He equalised midway through the first half then fired the Rokermen ahead on 57 minutes, only for Alfred Niepieklo to level it up again. Chisholm, though, had the last word, firing an 81st-minute winner.