Bayern, Dortmund get ready for big Bundesliga battle
MUNICH - Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and second-placed Borussia Dortmund aim to gear up for their showdown next week with victories on Saturday.
Bayern host lowly Eintracht Frankfurt for the first of two matches over the next weeks, with the pair to meet again in early June in the cup semi-finals.
Dortmund, meanwhile, go to sixth-placed Wolfsburg on matchday 27 which starts with a Berlin derby between Hertha and Union today and sees a minute’s silence observed at all games to mourn Covid-19 victims.
Bayern lead Dortmund by four points ahead of their clash Tuesday in Dortmund. Both are in fine form since the turn of the year and also each had a winning restart last weekend out of the coronavirus-related break.
Bayern captain Manuel Neuer became the latest player to renew his contract at the seven-time reigning champions, until 2023, and warned after last weekend’s 2-0 at Union that nothing is decided yet in a season completed in the unfamiliar way of matches played behind closed doors.
“We’re trying to do our best of course, we’ve worked very hard, and now we want to live up to our full potential. It’s a new situation, we have to cope with it. One of the nine matchdays is over. We shouldn’t write off any team,” Neuer said.
Frankfurt have been struggling all season and find themselves just five points above the danger zone in 13th, the restart going wrong in form of a 3-1 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach for a fourth straight league defeat.
“We’ve got a lot of quality in the team and need to play in a more gutsy way,” goalkeeper Kevin Trapp said.
Dortmund boosted their confidence with a 4-0 drubbing of arch-rivals Schalke, and shouldn’t be afraid of Wolfsburg who they have beaten in eight of the last nine undefeated meetings and where they have not lost since 2015.
Forward Julian Brandt said yesterday that they are ready to challenge Bayern.
“Being only being a few points behind first place we will have to try and get past them with all our might. In the end it depends on how strong we are mentally,” Brandt said in a video on the Bundesliga website.
Wolfsburg are unbeaten in seven games and with a 2-1 at Augsburg climbed into sixth as they seek another European berth.