Dortmund - They have a May 25 date upcoming at Wembley to finalise the small matter of who finishes top of the UEFA Champions League pile this season, but first things first; Bundesliga points, and quite a bit more besides, are at stake when Borussia Dortmund host FC Bayern Munich in Matchday 32's late Saturday mega-meeting (kick-off 18:30 CET).
"Playing for our fans, too"
Bayern wrapped up the title weeks ago, while Dortmund have already booked their berth in the group stages of next season's Champions League and need just two points from their remaining three matches to be guaranteed runners-up spot in the domestic top flight.
Jürgen Klopp acknowledges that Saturday's encounter and the one in London are not a comparison of like with like, but the BVB head coach nonetheless insists that, "Regardless of priorities, we want to see a really good game of football," not least because "it's taking place in the wickedest stadium in the world. It's going to be a test of character, as well as a game we're all really looking forward to. We'll be playing for our fans as well."
As to who, precisely, will actually be playing, Klopp was not revealing all in the run-up. Mario Götze is a definite non-starter against his future employers, and likely for the next three weeks as well with a thigh muscle strain, while Sven Bender, Marcel Schmelzer, Marco Reus and Ilkay Gündogan also all returned from the nail-biting but ultimately triumphant trip to Madrid nursing minor injuries. Summing up the necessary balancing act on the personnel front, the coach commented, "We don't want to take any undue risks, but we're not going to give anyone a break just for the sake of it. We need to keep ourselves in the groove."
Good form meets great form
And quite a groove it is, too. Dortmund go into this one on a Bundesliga season-best run of six straight victories. Add in the 4-1 demolition of Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League head-to-head and it makes for singularly impressive reading. Until, that is, you take a glance at the FC Bayern stat sheet for 2013.
14 wins in 14 top-flight outings, five out of six in the Champions League - the only blip being a home loss to Arsenal in the last 16 - and a single-goal DFB Cup success on home turf against Saturday's opponents Dortmund is the balance thus far for the men from Munich, who have been breaking best-marks left, right and centre on their way to a 22nd Bundesliga title. As far as Saturday's assignment at the Signal Iduna Park goes, head coach Jupp Heynckes echoed his counterpart Klopp's view that it will have "no bearing" on the outcome of the showpiece event at Wembley.
New-look Bayern frontline
What Heynckes can guarantee however is that "there'll be very good players lining up on both sides, and we both want to win this one and put in a good performance." Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben will not be among them, the star quartet all remaining in Munich for this one after finishing Wednesday's memorable encounter at the Camp Nou with various niggling injuries.
The veteran coach, who fully expects that "our opponents will play with a different formation to the one they sent out in Madrid," did confirm that, unusually, there will be a starting berth up front for both Mario Gomez and Claudio Pizarro - both of whom have delivered impressive scoring returns on their relatively limited outings this season.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Großkreutz, Felipe Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer - Kehl, Sahin - Hofmann, Gündogan, Reus - Schieber
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, van Buyten, Dante, Alaba - Javi Martinez, Luiz Gustavo - Müller, Pizarro, Shaqiri - Gomez