Borussia Dortmund head into their Bundesliga showdown with Bayern Munich with their entire first-choice defence ruled out through injury.
Right-back Lukasz Piszczek has missed the entire campaign thus far with a groin injury, while Neven Subotic was ruled out for six months after tearing cruciate knee ligaments in the 2-1 defeat to Wolfsburg before the international break.
And Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has seen his options at the back further depleted this week, with the news centre-back Mats Hummels will be absent until January with a heel injury while left-back Marcel Schmelzer faces a month out with a torn calf muscle.
To alleviate this defensive crisis, Klopp has drafted in free agent Manuel Friedrich, who had been unattached since leaving Bayer Leverkusen in the close-season.
The 34-year-old has been training with Dortmund in recent weeks, and could be set to feature in Saturday's repeat of last season's UEFA Champions League final - which Bayern won 2-1 - between the Bundesliga's top two.
Dortmund will be looking for a strong response to two defeats in the space of four days before the international break.
Klopp's side first fell to a 1-0 home loss to Arsenal in the Champions League that has left their participation in Europe's premier competition in the balance, while the Wolfsburg reverse saw them drop four points adrift of Bayern.
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola has injury trouble of his own, though, with France international Franck Ribery ruled out with a fractured rib.
The Ballon d'Or contender joins Bastian Schweinsteiger (ankle), Claudio Pizarro (thigh), Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh) and Holger Badstuber (knee) on the sidelines.
Reigning champions Bayern are in superb form ahead of the crunch fixture, and are looking to extend their record 37-match unbeaten run in Germany's top flight.
The Bavarian giants broke the mark of 36 matches without defeat set by Hamburg in 1981 with their comprehensive 3-0 triumph over Augsburg last time out, but they will have to be at their best to prolong the streak in Saturday's encounter at Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund have won their last six straight home Bundesliga games, scoring 21 goals in the process and Bayern's only defeat in any competition this season came at the hands of Klopp's men in a 4-2 reverse in the DLF-Supercup final in July.
|Coach: J. Klopp|
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