Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola expects Sunday’s clash with Borussia Dortmund will see the fixture regain its “special” aura, with Thomas Tuchel’s men once more in the title fight.
Dortmund were unable to replicate their previous title challenges under Jurgen Klopp last season, and finished seventh, but Tuchel appears to have them back on track.
Tuchel’s first 11 games in charge resulted in victories, although three successive draws have left Dortmund four points off the pace of Bayern, who are yet to drop points in any competition this term.
Guardiola has acknowledged that Dortmund will not be pushovers, though.
“Dortmund have been playing very well this season. They are a great team and my players know how good they are,” Guardiola stated at a press conference.
“Everybody wants to play in games like these. Dortmund versus Bayern is always a special match.
“It’s not like this game will be decisive though. It is not a final. It is about three points. Nothing has been decided after it.
“Tuchel and his men enjoy having a lot of possession. They want to control the game and break free rapidly with balls over the top.”
Bayern will still be without Franck Ribery, Sebastian Rode, Medhi Benatia and Holger Badstuber, while Arjen Robben also seems likely to miss out.
Arturo Vidal is raring to go again, however, after missing their 5-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in midweek due to a knee injury.
Bayern will be brimming with confidence heading into Sunday’s encounter. Their return of 21 points with a +20 goal difference is a new Bundesliga record after seven games of a season, beating their previous best of 2012-13.
Dortmund, meanwhile, will be desperate to return to winning ways after a series of disappointing results in recent weeks.
They still sit second in the Bundesliga table, yet defeat on Sunday could see arch-rivals Schalke leapfrog them.
BVB also have reason for optimism ahead of the clash at the Allianz Arena as they have beaten Bayern at home in more Bundesliga games than any other team (nine), even if the Bavarians won their last match on home turf against Borussia 2-1, ending a run of four league home games without a win against them.
Tuchel will still be without Nuri Sahin and Erik Durm due to injury, yet Neven Subotic is fit again after making his comeback from a back injury versus PAOK.