Bundesliga: Knocked out of Europe, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund to go all out for domestic glory
Holders Bayern Munich and Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund are preparing for the final stretch in their tight title race without the pressure of the Champions League after both teams were knocked out in the last 16.
Munich: Holders Bayern Munich and Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund are preparing for the final stretch in their tight title race without the pressure of the Champions League after both teams were knocked out in the last 16.
Bayern, who had more players resting in the international break than usual after Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng were dropped from the Germany team, want a league and Cup double to make up for their earliest European exit in years.
The Bavarians, who trailed Dortmund by nine points back in December, are now top of the table on 60 points, ahead on goal difference, having won 13 of their last 14 league matches.
They visit Freiburg on Saturday as overwhelming favourites to extend that run and maintain their lead over the Ruhr valley club, who host VfL Wolfsburg, ahead of a mouthwatering clash next week between the two giants in Munich on 6 April.
“Dortmund cannot allow themselves any slip-ups because we are in really good form at the moment.”
The top scorer in the league this term, Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, needs two more goals to break the 200 mark in the Bundesliga, a feat achieved by only four others before him, the last of which — Manfred Burgsmueller — did it in 1987.
For Dortmund things are also gradually starting to look up after a disappointing run in February and March that saw their German Cup and Champions League elimination. They also handed the lead in the Bundesliga to their rivals.
The Dortmund captain’s performances are key to their form this season, with his absence in February proving costly.
If history is anything to go by then Reus could be on target again against Wolfsburg, having scored 10 goals in his last 11 matches against them.
Romelu Lukaku broke the deadlock for Chelsea after 69 minutes at Stamford Bridge to earn the holders a 1-0 victory over Zenit, whose Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg is the venue for next May's final.
UEFA Champions League: When and where to watch the matchday 1 games as European football league season gets underway.
Bayern head into Europe buoyed by results, with 10 points from their first four league games, and confident in their current squad despite no big-name signing this summer.