Bayern shape up for Dortmund showdown
Bayern Munich warm-up for their Bundesliga showdown at home to defending champions Borussia Dortmund this weekend with a tough trip to Freiburg as the next round of German league matches start on Tuesday.
Bayern enjoy a nine-point lead over second-placed rivals Dortmund and Munich have dominated the league so far this season with 34 points from a possible 39.
But having battled their way into the top six with an impressive 3-0 win at home to VfB Stuttgart on Sunday, Freiburg will be no push-overs at home when they host Munich on Wednesday.
Bayern extended their lead at the top of the table with a 5-0 hammering of Hanover 96 in Munich on Saturday and after drawing their previous matches at Nuremberg and Valencia – against 10 men in both games –confidence is back up.
"We need to recover well. We have a tough match in Freiburg on Wednesday, and then we play Dortmund. That's a challenging week," said France wing Franck Ribery, one of the goal scorers against Hanover.
Germany striker Mario Gomez, who needed just 26 seconds to score against Hanover after coming off the bench, added: "We have to keep this going through to Christmas."
"We've won nothing for two seasons, so we have to win the league.
"We're on track, provided we keep it up. We were on track last year as well, only to veer off course. That mustn't happen this season."
Dortmund host mid-table Fortuna Duesseldorf on Tuesday waiting on the fitness of Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan who picked up an ankle injury in their 2-1 win at Mainz on Saturday, which moved them up to second.
Dortmund enjoyed their third consecutive away win with goals by Germany midfielder Marco Reus and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski.
"We are very happy that we are now in second place, but we are just focusing on us," said Reus.
"In the Bundesliga, there are still a lot of games to go, so a win at this stage doesn't mean anything yet."
Dortmund are unbeaten in all competition since losing 2-1 at home to Schalke in the Ruhr derby on October 20.
"It is only important that we collect points to us to stay near the top," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
"Bayern are at the top, but we have to play our season."
Behind Bayern, things are tight with only one point separating Dortmund in second and Leverkusen in fifth.
On Tuesday, third-placed Schalke are at Hamburg, who lost midfielder Rafael van der Vaart with a hamstring injury on Friday, while Eintracht Frankfurt, fourth, host Mainz the same night.
Borussia Dortmund v Fortuna Duesseldorf
Hanover 96 v Greuther Fuerth
Hamburg v Schalke 04
Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz 05
Borussia M'gladbach v VfL Wolfsburg
VfB Stuttgart v Augsburg
Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen
Freiburg v Bayern Munich
Nuremberg v Hoffenheim