German fans have finally got their wish for a more exciting Bundesliga season and the title race will really hot up when leaders Bayern Munich lock horns with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Bayern’s shock 2-1 defeat by Mainz 05 at the Allianz Arena in midweek means a home victory for second-placed Dortmund at the weekend would lift them within two points of the Bavarians with nine matches to go. Such is the worldwide interest in the top of the table clash, it will be broadcast to 208 countries.
“Everyone wanted more suspense in the Bundesliga. Now you have it so all is well,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola told reporters. “We are not perfect. Sometimes you have to lose to understand what you need to do in order to become an even better team.”
Bayern, who are chasing a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga crown, had an 11-point lead earlier in the season. The defeat by Mainz and a 2-2 draw at Juventus in their Champions League last-16 first leg, after leading 2-0, have raised alarm bells among the supporters. “The results against Juve and Mainz were not good but our performances were,” said Guardiola who is leaving at the end of the season to join Manchester City. Bayern’s injury problems have receded in recent weeks following the return of winger Franck Ribery and defender Medhi Benatia. Former Dortmund forward Mario Goetze may have to wait a bit longer to make his comeback despite being fit again following a lengthy absence. “Mario has to keep doing what he is doing,” said Guardiola. “The coach decides who plays. “He has to be ready to come on when I say ‘now’. We have seven forwards and not everyone can play. “He was out injured for a long time and that is the only reason he has not yet played,” added Guardiola.