Thomas Tuchel: Top-three pressure looms over Borussia Dortmund

Thomas Tuchel said his Borussia Dortmund side must avoid negative pressure as they seek a top-three finish in the Bundesliga.

On Saturday, Dortmund host second-placed RB Leipzig and, despite not suffering a home Bundesliga defeat since April 2015, the club are facing growing pressure after drawing four of their last five league games.

BVB are currently fourth in the table, one point behind Eintracht Frankfurt, but are among a group of teams fighting for third place, which guarantees qualification for the Champions League group stage.

Asked about the pressure to finish within the top three, Tuchel told his prematch news conference: "It looms over us like a cloud, but that's OK. It's also our aspiration.

"It's important that no negative pressure develops. We need to focus on the next steps."

Saturday's game against Leizpig marks the start of a busy two-week period for Dortmund in which they will play six games, including Wednesday's DFB Pokal game against Hertha Berlin and a Champions League meeting with Benfica the following week.

"We will do all we can to beat Leipzig at our stadium, to gain extreme confidence for the crucial period in cup, league and Champions League," Tuchel said, adding that this term BVB have performed in the big matches. "There's a certain rivalry about this match, and we've been very, very good in those encounters so far."

Victory would see BVB narrow the gap on Leizpig to eight points, but Tuchel knows the newly promoted side will provide tough opposition.

"There is a lot of quality. Not many teams have invested as much money. Their total transfer deficit is over €50 million," Tuchel said. "They are not a normal promoted side, but they have the same feeling that carries them. They can't lose [because] if they do lose, they have learned something.

"You can push the limits with that atmosphere, being the underdog all the time. It can carry you. I've said it before and I'll say it again: They remind me a lot of Leicester last season. They are still under the radar, but they are no longer a surprise package for me."

Dortmund suffered a late 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture on matchday two, and Tuchel said it gave Leipzig "an enormous push" and that they are "still riding the wave of euphoria now."

He added: "They played against 10-man teams the last two games. They permanently get those little amplifiers to undermine the euphoria with results. That makes it even more complicated."

Dortmund will go into the match with most of their squad available. Only long-term absentees Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender will not be available for selection, and right-back Lukasz Piszczek faces a late fitness test after back problems kept him out of training earlier this week.

Despite getting his permission to play earlier this week, Tuchel hinted that he will not include new signing Alexander Isak, 17, in the squad for the Leipzig game.