Dortmund aiming to slow Bayern’s title charge
Defending champion Borussia Dortmund can slow Bayern Munich’s
title charge when the top two teams clash in the Bundesliga on
Dortmund would cut the gap in the standings to two points by
winning in Munich for the second year in a row, but Bayern is keen
to demonstrate its title credentials.
”We can take a big step against Dortmund. Everyone is straining
at the leash,” Munich defender Holger Badstuber said.
Earlier Saturday, third-place Werder Bremen can become the first
side to win at No. 4 Borussia Moenchengladbach this season. Both
sides are only separated from Dortmund on goal difference.
Fifth-place Schalke will be missing captain Benedikt Hoewedes
and Peru winger Jefferson Farfan to injury in the home match
against Nuremberg, while Hertha Berlin visits Freiburg, Cologne
welcomes Mainz and Wolfsburg hosts Hannover.
On Sunday, Stuttgart plays Augsburg and Hamburger SV hosts
In Munich, all eyes will be on Dortmund’s rising star Mario
Goetze, who has been showered with praise by Bayern’s bosses.
”We’re always interested in taking good German players to
Bayern,” chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Club president Uli Hoeness added: ”Such a likable player at
Bayern, that would indeed be a fine thing.”
Dortmund defender Mats Hummels can understand Bayern’s rationale
behind the comments.
”Mario is an outstanding player, and there is also some
tactical maneuvering behind it too,” Hummels told Kicker magazine
The 19-year-old Goetze has played a vital role as Dortmund
recovered from a shaky start to claim six wins and a draw from its
past eight games in all competitions.
Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke warned, however, that the
visitors would find it hard to repeat last season’s 3-1
”They now have in Manuel Neuer one of the world’s best
goalkeepers. If Manuel had been with Bayern already last year, it
would have been a lot closer,” Watzke told the dapd news
”Of course you have with Jupp Heynckes a very experienced and
competent coach, who molds the individual strengths of the team
into a compatible system. There aren’t any weak points
Bayern will miss the influence of midfielder Bastian
Schweinsteiger, who is recovering from a broken collarbone that
will keep him out until the New Year.
But Schweinsteiger is confident Bayern can overcome his absence
to defeat the current closest competitor to his side for the
”We’ve got a lot more quality, we’re far more compact than we
were last season and our attackers are working hard to defend,”
Schweinsteiger said. ”They have a very energetic team which is
very talented in attack, but they’re behind us in the table this
time. They’re going to have to come at us.”
Arjen Robben could make his return to the side after the start
of a season beset by groin and back problems. The Dutch winger is
likely to start on the bench.
”He’s training, so it looks good. But you never know what might
happen with Arjen before Saturday,” Schweinsteiger joked. ”If he
is there, then personally I’d be even more confident of victory. He
can make the difference.”