Champions Bayern Munich meet second-placed Borussia Dortmund with Bundesliga bragging rights already awarded this season but a bitter row over an old loan between the clubs has fanned the rivalry for the league's top two teams.
The Bavarians have already trumped Dortmund by winning the league in record time and advancing to the Champions League semi-finals at the expense of Manchester United.
By contrast, Dortmund went down to Real Madrid 3-2 on aggregate despite winning the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final and are now hoping to preserve second spot in the Bundesliga with five games left.
Saturday's game in Munich follows an ongoing war of words throughout the season that has drawn in coaches and club bosses. The latest instalment of their off-the-pitch rivalry came this week with Bayern president-in-waiting Karl Hopfner accusing Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke of making up stories regarding a loan the Bavarians gave Dortmund in 2004.
At the time the Ruhr valley club was on the brink of bankruptcy with Watzke saying Bayern had demanded eight percent interest on the two million euros they had loaned out. "I repeat Bayern did not contribute to saving Borussia Dortmund," Watzke said, arguing then Bayern boss Uli Hoeness was no "Mother Theresa".
Watzke took over at Dortmund about a year after the loan was given and he has been credited with turning around the club's finances, dragging them out of the red and into a successful and profit-making outfit.
He said he would never have done what his predecessor did, especially not in the form of a loan from Bayern.
Hopfner, who is expected to be elected president in May, succeeding Hoeness after he was handed a three-and-a-half year jail sentence for tax evasion, said most of the loan had been interest free with the remaining 500,000 settled with the transfer of Torsten Frings to the Bavarians.
"What Mr Watzke is saying is the absolute untruth. An untruth is an untruth," he said on Tuesday. "Baron von Muenchhausen is a different figure. (Comparing him with the Dortmund CEO) would be flattering to Watzke," he said, referring to the fictional literary character known for his exaggerated tales.
On the pitch the two sides, who could also meet in the German Cup final with both having reached the last four, are not expected to lack motivation with Dortmund having beaten Bayern at the start of the season in the German Super Cup. Bayern, who beat Dortmund in the Champions League final last season, took revenge in the league earlier in the season and look in top form.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, both suspended against Manchester United, will be back with coach Pep Guardiola praising the way his side was playing.
"This is the best part of the season and we are in a great situation," said the Spaniard, chasing an unprecedented back-to-back treble for Bayern in his first season in charge.
For winger Arjen Robben consistency will be key as the season enters its final stretch.
"We have to keep our foot on the gas. On Saturday against Borussia Dortmund and then in the Cup final. We can add a bit more to our performance," said the winger.
Dortmund are struggling with injuries but their midweek 2-0 victory against Real Madrid boosted their confidence and a win over Bayern would further tighten their hold on second spot.
Third-placed Schalke 04 host Eintracht Frankfurt while relegation-threatened Hamburg SV travel to out-of-form Hanover 96.
OPTA HEAD-TO-HEAD STATS
OPTA MATCH FACTS
- Bayern won the meeting in Dortmund earlier this season 3-0 – Mario Goetze scored the opener as a substitute on his first return to his former club (Arjen Robben and Thomas Mueller added the other goals).
- FC Bayern haven’t won any of their last three Bundesliga meetings with BVB in the Allianz Arena (D1 L2) – FCB’s last home victory against Dortmund in the league was over four years ago (3-1 in February 2010).
- The Munich side are without a win in their last two Bundesliga games (3-3 draw with Hoffenheim, 1-0 loss in Augsburg) – the last time they went as long without winning was around two years ago (mid-April 2012).
- BVB have collected a solid 16 of a possible 21 points from the last seven matchdays (W5 D1 L1) – the same amount as FC Bayern.
- The German champions in the last five seasons have either been Bayern (2010, 2013, 2014) or Borussia Dortmund (2011, 2012) – before that, VfL Wolfsburg won it in 2009.
- FCB’s last two defeats in Saturday evening kick-offs have come against Dortmund – both were in 2011 and came in the Allianz Arena (3-1 in February, 1-0 in November).
- Mario Mandzukic and Robert Lewandowski lead the Bundesliga goalscoring charts after 29 matchdays with 17 goals each – neither of them have won the Golden Boot in Germany’s top flight before.
- Marco Reus has been involved in BVB’s last six goals – he has scored five times himself and he has also assisted one goal.
- David Alaba is set for his 100th Bundesliga games – 82 of his previous 99 matches have come for FC Bayern. 17 of them were in 1899 Hoffenheim colours.
- Pep Guardiola suffered a defeat in his very first competitive game as Bayern manager – a 4-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup on July 27th 2013.
- This will be Juergen Klopp’s 200th Bundesliga game as BVB manager – only Ottmar Hitzfeld has coached Dortmund in more top-flight games (208).
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