Coach Thioune: Düsseldorf go into Bundesliga play-off as underdog

Duesseldorf coach Daniel Thioune stands in the stadium before the German DFB cub semi-final match between Bayer Leverkusen and Fortuna Düsseldorf at BayArena. Marius Becker/dpa

Fortuna Düsseldorf coach Daniel Thioune said that his team will go into the Bundesliga play-off against VfL Bochum on Thursday as the underdogs.

Düsseldorf finished third in the second division and will play against Bochum, 16th-placed in the Bundesliga for a spot in the top tier.

"With all due respect, it's not Bayer Leverkusen, but it's still VfL Bochum. A first division team who will be the favourites in a home game and generally have to be the favourites," Thioune said in a news conference on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, he stressed he's confident the team can make a return to the top flight. "If we want people to talk about us, we have to get promoted."

"My team had an incredible journey, a wonderful season with an incredible goal difference. They more than deserved to leave this league."

Despite all the tension, Thioune advised his players to keep a cool head in the lively Bochum stadium.

"I'm not in a rush, I'm patient. And that's what we have to be on Thursday evening. We have to show how unbelievably cool we are at the moment and what a great team we have."

Düsseldorf are unbeaten in 14 consecutive matches and are aiming to play their first Bundesliga season since 2019-20.