Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Der Klassiker: Borussia Dortmund 'have nothing to lose' as they look to pile more misery on embattled Bayern Munich

A second consecutive defeat would leave Bayern seven points adrift if leaders Borussia Monchengladbach beat Werder Bremen on Sunday

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel celebrates the German club's 3-2 midweek Champions League win over Inter Milan. Thoughts now turn to Der Klassiker against Bayern Munich. Reuters
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel celebrates the German club's 3-2 midweek Champions League win over Inter Milan. Thoughts now turn to Der Klassiker against Bayern Munich. Reuters

Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre says his side have no fear of facing their greatest domestic rivals as they look to pile more misery on champions Bayern Munich in Saturday's match at the Allianz Arena.

Dortmund travel to Bavaria to face a Bayern team in crisis after manager Niko Kovac left the club by "mutual agreement" following last week's 5-1 drubbing at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Hansi Flick has been placed in interim charge and oversaw Wednesday's 2-0 win over Olimpiakos that sealed the German club's place in the knockout stage of the Champions League with two matches to spare.

Hoffenheim's win at Cologne on Friday saw Bayern drop to fifth in the Bundesliga, a point behind third-placed Dortmund ahead of the first klassiker of the season.

Dortmund beat Bayern 2-0 at Signal Iduna Park in the German Super Cup in August, but Dortmund have unfinished business in Munich after suffering a 5-0 thrashing in April before their rivals went on to pip them to the title by two points.

"In the last five years, it has been hard to win there," Favre said. "But, we have nothing to lose. We respect Bayern - we don't fear them."

Bayern's tally of 18 points from the opening 10 matches is the club's lowest since the 2010/2011 season when Dortmund finished as champions.

Favre's men mounted a stunning fightback from two goals down to beat Inter Milan 3-2 on Tuesday in the Champions League and claim a third straight win.

Bayern have won six and lost four of the last 10 meetings against Dortmund and their search for Kovac's long-term replacement has hit several buffers.

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc however has warned against expecting the Bavarian giants to be off their game.

"We shouldn't think that anything will be given away or that we'll have it easy," he said.

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag told reporters this week he would stay at the Dutch champions while the agent of Ralph Rangnik, the head of sport and development for Red Bull, said his client is "not available" and “We do not believe that what Ralf Rangnick brings is currently being sought after by Bayern."

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was considered favourite for the job, but conflicting reports said that Bayern had turned down Wenger before the Frenchman clarified in an interview on BeIN Sports that he would hold talks with Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge next week.

"We decided together we will talk next week because I'm in Doha until Sunday. This is the true story," Wenger, 70, said.

"On Wednesday afternoon, Rummenigge called me. I could not answer and by politeness I called him back.

"He was in his car going to the game against Olympiakos. We talked for four to five minutes maximum and he told me they had assigned Hans-Dieter Flick to be the coach - he will manage the next two games.

"He [Rummenigge] asked me if I would be interested because they are looking for a coach. I told him I didn't have any thoughts about it - it needs some time to have a think about it."

A second consecutive defeat would leave Bayern seven points adrift if leaders Borussia Monchengladbach beat Werder Bremen on Sunday.

With Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez injured and Jerome Boateng suspended, Flick could field a makeshift back four of Javi Martinez, normally a midfielder, and regular left-back David Alaba at the heart of the defence, with winger Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard as full-backs.

If Robert Lewandowski scores Saturday, the Bayern striker will have scored in each of the first 11 games this season, extending his own Bundesliga record.

Dortmund hope England winger Jadon Sancho, who suffered a thigh injury against Inter, and captain Marco Reus, who has an ankle knock, will be fit.

Flick said: "We're playing at home and it's a chance to lay down a new marker."

Veteran Bayern forward and German World Cup winner Thomas Muller sees the showdown as the "most important game of the year".

Updated: November 9, 2019 01:19 PM

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