Thomas Tuchel insists the opportunity to cut the gap to Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich to two points with a win in Saturday’s Klassiker will not lead to a change in approach from Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund are five points behind their arch-rivals following a routine 2-0 win at Darmstadt and Bayern’s shock 2-1 home loss to Mainz on Wednesday.
Those results have given Dortmund the chance to pull within striking distance of Bayern at Signal Iduna Park this weekend.
Despite the favour Tuchel’s old club Mainz did for Dortmund in midweek, the 42-year-old says his preparation for Bayern’s visit will not alter.
He told Dortmund’s website: “The gap at the top has been reduced, but this result does not give Saturday’s match a different meaning. We would have awaited the match with the same anticipation.
“Now we go into it in an even better position. We feel that we have really worked our socks off to get into this position, by consistently picking up points for weeks now.
“The ball is now in our court to take the next step. I hope that we approach this task with the same energy and anticipation that we have recently shown. We will of course give it our all to close the gap even further.”
Having netted 10 goals in his previous eight appearances, Robert Lewandowski failed to hit the target against Mainz as Bayern suffered their first home loss of the season.
But the former Dortmund talisman is confident Bayern will be able to bounce back with a much-improved performance at his old stomping ground after his brace helped Bayern win the reverse fixture 5-1.
“I hope we’ll do better than against Mainz,” Lewandowski told Bayern’s website. “We have to create more clear-cut chances and prevent them getting at us so easily on the break.
“Games like this just happen in football sometimes. We’ll turn in a different display in Dortmund.”
Bayern remain without injured trio Javi Martinez (knee), Jerome Boateng (groin) and Holger Badstuber (ankle).
Goalkeeper Roman Burki missed Dortmund’s win at Darmstadt through illness and could return this weekend, as could Lukasz Piszczek and Marco Reus, who were both rested for the contest at Merck-Stadion am Bollenfalltor.
Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos is still out with a hamstring issue as Dortmund aim to record only their second win in eight Bundesliga matches against Bayern and further boost their hopes of a first title since 2012.
Key Opta stats:
– Thomas Tuchel has been beaten in each of his last five league games against Bayern. He last took a point off the record champions in April 2012 (goalless draw whilst still in charge of Mainz).
– Mario Gotze, who joined Bayern from Dortmund for €37 million in 2013, has not featured in the Bundesliga since the reverse fixture. He helped himself to a goal and an assist in that match.
– Bayern’s record Bundesliga win came against Dortmund (11-1 in November 1971).
– Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bayern winger Douglas Costa played together at Shakhtar Donetsk. The duo won the double three times in Ukraine (2011, 2012 and 2013).