Borussia Dortmund must get past old foes Bayern Munich in this week’s DFB-Pokal semi-final at the Allianz Arena if they are to keep alive Jurgen Klopp’s hopes of bowing out with silverware.
Klopp will leave Dortmund at the end of the season – with Thomas Tuchel the man to replace him – and is set to take charge of the club in a Klassiker for the final time on Tuesday.
A difficult season for Klopp’s side has meant this term’s Bundesliga showdowns between the two rivals have been of reduced importance.
However, victory in Bavaria will put Dortmund within one win of salvaging something from a disappointing season and ending Klopp’s seven-year tenure on a high.
Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt kept Dortmund in the hunt for UEFA Europa League qualification but, for now, Klopp wants all eyes on the Pokal.
“[Saturday] was an important day for us because we have finally left the relegation battle behind us,” explained the 47-year-old, who will be without goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller (hip).
“If the number of points between us and the teams above us in the European places is less than the number of games remaining, we’re in with a chance.
“We’re just three points away. Now it’s all or nothing. We’re in a good position. I hope that we somehow manage to pull it off. But first of all we have to travel to Bayern on Tuesday.
“I hope we produce a performance that shows we really want to win the cup. That would serve as a real springboard for this match. We’re going there with the intention of achieving something.”
Bayern sealed their 25th Bundesliga title after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin was followed a day later by Wolfsburg’s loss to Borussia Monchengladbach.
Progression on Tuesday would keep Pep Guardiola’s side on course for a second treble in three seasons.
Guardiola – whose side have beaten Dortmund twice since suffering defeat in the Super Cup – could welcome back Arjen Robben and Mehdi Benatia from injury.
Captain Philipp Lahm told reporters: “Hertha defended in numbers and did very well. We wanted to do more than we actually did but it was important that we won at the end.
“We definitely need to improve for Tuesday’s game. You aways want to play well but it’s not always easy to do so.”
Tuesday will see a re-run of last year’s final, which saw Bayern run out 2-0 winners in extra-time, with the German champions targetting an 18th Pokal success.
Dortmund will close in on a fourth victory in the competition with a win – having won the Pokal most recently in 2012.
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