Klopp ready for crucial showdown
Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund this weekend in a game which could all but end their hopes of successfully defending their Bundesliga title. Bayern trail league leaders Dortmund by 13 points with 11 matches of the season remaining. Although defeat would not mathematically put them out of the running for the title, it would certainly put the Westphalians firmly in the driving seat.
All eyes will therefore be on the Allianz Arena this Saturday. Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is refusing to stoke the coals ahead of what is already likely to be a fiery encounter.
"I think we have already done enough to frustrate Bayern," he said at the pre-match press conference. "I don't have to say anything else - we have won lots of points, we beat them at home."
Bayern showed what they are capable of by defeating Inter Milan 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, but that has not put Klopp off.
"That was not bad, but we are still going to fly there," added Klopp. "It would not make any sense trying to see ourselves on the same level as Bayern, but we can measure ourselves against anybody in just one game."
Bayern have had no time to revel in their victory yesterday at the San Siro as they turned their focus immediately to Saturday's top-of-the-table showdown.
"After nights like tonight, you would like to just say let's enjoy the moment, but unfortunately we have another important game on Saturday," said the club's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after yesterday's win. "That is a game in which we must keep going. We have got to show that we may be third at the moment, but that is not going to be the case at the end of the season."
Bayer Leverkusen could also be the beneficiaries of a win for Bayern as they look to narrow the gap at the top to seven points.
Jupp Heynckes' side are not in action until Sunday when they travel to struggling Werder Bremen, who could find themselves in the bottom three by the time they take to the field.
Kaiserslautern and Wolfsburg can both move above them with wins over Hamburg and Borussia Monchengladbach respectively, while Stuttgart will try to move away from the foot of the table when they travel to Frankfurt on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Freiburg and Mainz are still jostling for a place in the UEFA Europa League next season and they are both away from home this weekend at Cologne and Hoffenheim respectively.
Fourth-place Hannover could remain in the hunt for a top three finish by winning in St Pauli, while Schalke host in-form Nurnberg, who have won their last four matches.