Dortmund - Borussia Dortmund’s terrific trio of Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Mario Götze will be looking to up the ante ahead of Saturday’s table-topping clash with Bayern Munich by reducing the gap between themselves and the record champions to six points with victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf on Tuesday night.
Full focus on Fortuna
The Westphalians overturned an eight-point deficit on Bayern to take the title last season and, although they have got to go one point better this time around, with their magic triangle usurping the Bundesliga form book, that is no longer looking quite so far-fetched. Led by Lewandowski’s nine strikes, the trio have bagged 18 of Dortmund’s 28 Bundesliga goals this season, creating twelve between them. No wonder the whole Bundesliga is raving about them, even if they prefer to let their feet do the talking.
Lewandowski bagged a brace for the fourth competitive game in a row at the weekend, beefing up his own goalscoring statistics for the season and taking him joint top of the scoring charts. Seeing Dortmund’s name at the top of the chart which counts could come a little further down the line, even if the protagonists are refusing to pay any attention to the overall standings just yet. "We’re concentrating on the next game - against Düsseldorf," said the Polish goalgetter.
"We’re not thinking about Bayern yet," affirmed coach Jurgen Klopp, sticking to the game-by-game principle which served Dortmund well after a similar period of difficulty at the start of last season and saw them send the records tumbling in the second half of the campaign while Bayern, like the rest of the league, stood open-mouthed in admiration.
Much to chew on
Götze even has people open-mouthed in training, as his antics prior to the 4-1 win over AFC Ajax in Amsterdam a week ago proved. A video of him spitting out a piece of chewing gum, playing keep-up with it four times and then catching it in his mouth again is currently doing the rounds. Meanwhile Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel suggested that playing both Götze and Reus on the same team verges on "unfair competition". After losing 2-1, his opinion had not altered.
So now it is the turn of Düsseldorf to try their fortune, but luck has hardly been on their side since they won their first Bundesliga game at home in over 15 years. “We’ve really been hit hard this time,” said their coach Norbert Meier before reading off a list of players who he cannot select on Tuesday night, including Oliver Fink, Du-Ri Cha, Bruno Soares, Stelios Malezas, Jens Langeneke and Tobias Levels. "And this is our toughest game of the season," added the 54-year-old coach.
Nothing to lose
Meier will nevertheless turn up with a squad of 18 men, enriched with a few unfamiliar names from the youth team: "At the same time, this is our easiest game of the season since we have nothing to lose."
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Bender, Kehl - Blaszczykowski, Götze, Reus - Lewandowski
Düsseldorf: Giefer - Balogun, Bodzek, Juanan, van den Bergh - Paurevic, Lambertz - Garbuschewski, Ilsö, Bellinghausen - Kruse