THE past week is not the first time Erik Durm has been bottom of the league.
His first stint propping up the table came when sporting the colours of Borussia Dortmund during a Bundesliga season that, as late as the spring, threatened to yield the most unlikely relegation since Manchester United slipped out of the English top flight in 1974.
Jurgen Klopp was manager and his time at the Westalenstadion had, up to that point, been an unmitigated success. Two Bundesliga titles were the pinnacle but Dortmund also reached the 2013 Champions League final under the charismatic future manager of Liverpool.
In the 2014-15 campaign, however, Durm was part of the side who, after flirting with the dropzone in the final weeks before the winter break, plumbed new depths by crashing to the foot of the table in early February.
Durm, a member of the Germany squad that had lifted the World Cup the previous summer, remembers it well.
“It is not nice to be bottom of the table like we are now,” said the 26-year-old to The Yorkshire Post. “But I have had it before with Dortmund. This was with the first team in the season when Jurgen Klopp left.
I am really looking forward to playing in this stadium and to play on this pitch. These are the games you dream about as a kid. To play against the biggest teams and the biggest players.Erik Durm
“In the winter time, we were 18th. It was a horrible situation at the time. So, I know how it feels. Even worse than it is now for Huddersfield because no-one in Germany expected it.
“A big pressure for everyone at Dortmund but it changed. That is what everyone has to remember. It can change.”
Salvation for Dortmund would come via a stirring end to the season that brought nine victories from the final 16 games and a seventh-place finish.
Klopp had indicated his desire to step down in the summer when the club was still deep in the mire, prompting him to later joke: “If I’d known, I would have announced it at the beginning of the season!”
Huddersfield’s situation is nowhere near as grave as the one that had faced Durm and Dortmund before that late revival. For a start, Town still have 32 games to put things right.
Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that the club’s poor run stretching back to last season – the Terriers have won just once in 16 league outings – has to change and soon.
Tottenham Hotspur’s visit to the John Smith’s Stadium doesn’t, on the surface, offer much hope of providing the lift-off that David Wagner’s men require to escape the foot of the table.
For Durm, though, encouragement comes from how even the lowest-ranked teams in Germany made life difficult for Dortmund during his four years in the team.
He said: “In Dortmund, we had a lot of pressure because we had to be the second-best team in Germany.
“Now, here at Huddersfield it is all about fighting every weekend to stay in the Premier League.
“The games are very different, too. At Dortmund, we had to play against teams who would play with the deep block against you.
“Everyone was fighting around the opposition box. Now, we are mostly the team with the deep midfield block and fighting around our own box. That is a big change for me.
“It can be difficult against those teams. They put all their pride into these games against the top teams and fight. Tottenham will know we will be looking to play a big game.”
Today will bring Durm’s first home appearance since moving to England during the summer.
But, with three away games in Huddersfield colours already under his belt, he has banished the frustration of three injury-ravaged years at Dortmund that included two knee operations, surgery on his hip and, most recently in January, torn ankle ligaments.
“I was fortunate to play in front of the ‘Yellow Wall’,” he said about the famously boisterous stand at Dortmund’s home stadium. “There are 25,000 fans in there and the atmosphere is unbelievable.
“I have not played at home for Huddersfield yet but I have been to the games.
“The fans create a great atmosphere as well.
“Great supporters. Almost every player has his own song, that is not typical for Germany. I am really looking forward to playing in this stadium and to play on this pitch.
“These are the games you dream about as a kid. To play against the biggest teams and the biggest players.
“Dortmund did play Tottenham in the Europa League. Harry Kane is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, player in their team. He is very good at heading and very physical.
“He runs a lot and helps the team, including when Tottenham are defending. He is very strong and makes a lot of goals as well as scores them. For me, he is like a perfect striker.”