Dortmund out to spoil Bayern’s perfect season

Dortmund out to spoil Bayern’s perfect season

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Dortmund out to spoil Bayern’s perfect season

Bayern Munich’s French midfielder Franck Ribery (R) and Dortmund’s Polish defender Lukas Piszczek vie for the ball during a Bundesliga match. Bayern will miss its French star tonight due to a red card suspension. AFP photo

Holder Borussia Dortmund is aiming to shatter Bayern Munich’s “perfect season” when Germany’s top two teams collide in tonight’s crunch German Cup quarterfinal in a repeat of last season’s final. 

“For them, it’s a perfect season, for us it is like a Champions League away game,” said Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp with Bayern a commanding 17 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, with Borussia second in the league.  “We know that we are one of the few clubs on the planet who can beat Bayern. “We have ambitions in this competition, but we need a good performance.“You can’t beat Bayern by playing at just 98 percent.” 

The match at Munich’s Allianz Arena is the plum tie of the cup quarterfinals with seemingly unstoppable Bayern up against last season’s domestic double winners Dortmund.

“These are the two best teams in Germany. I reckon the whole nation is looking forward to it - and so are we,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. Having hammered Bayern 5-2 in last May’s German Cup final, when Poland striker Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick, Dortmund has plenty of experience of beating its rival in recent years. 

Bayern has not beaten Dortmund in a league or cup match since February 2010, although it did enjoy a 2-1 Supercup final win in August over Borussia in a pre-season warm-up for the Bundesliga’s top sides. “Three years ago, we still had to scroll through the history books to see when we last won against Bayern,” quipped Klopp with both Bayern and Dortmund in the last 16 of the Champions League.
“Now we have noticed that the respect from Bayern has increased towards us.” 

Bayern is clearly investing heavily in tonight’s game as coach Jupp Heynckes rested several stars for last weekend’s 6-1 hammering of Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena.

Historic treble 

Lahm, winger Arjen Robben and center back Dante were also all given a day off by Heynckes on Feb. 25 to rest up for the match.

“We have huge ambitions in the cup and are highly motivated,” said Heynckes, with Bayern last having won a title in May 2010 and is on course for a historic treble. “We are playing at home, we are self confident and we are playing football at an extremely high level. So we are optimistic.” 

Dortmund will have center back Mats Hummels (bruised thigh), midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski (hip strain) and striker Robert Lewandowski (suspension) back after missing weekend’s 1-1 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach. 

Bayern will be without France winger Franck Ribery, who is suspended after a red card in the previous round, while Spain midfielder Javi Martinez is expected to be fit despite suffering a light groin injury against Bremen.