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

on Thursday.

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.”