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Leverkusen looking for Bundesliga bragging rights in Dortmund

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Leverkusen looking for Bundesliga bragging rights in Dortmund
Photo: DPA
17:01 CEST+02:00
Champions League rivals Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen lock horns for Bundesliga bragging rights on Saturday as the title-holders take on last season's runners-up.

Leverkusen were the last team to beat Dortmund at home when they inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the champions at Borussia's Signal Iduna Park on August 22 last year, but much has changed since.

Jürgen Klopp has forged Dortmund into a dynamic outfit, having won the Bundesliga by seven points.

"We know how strong they are going forward and how good they are on the ball," said Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, whose twin brother Sven plays for Dortmund and is fit after recovering from a knee injury. It gives us a bit of confidence knowing we have beaten them 2-0 last season and we are looking forward to a good game."

Dortmund's rising star Mario Götze is an injury concern after the 19-year-old missed training last week, but returned briefly on Thursday for some light fitness work.

Poland winger Jakub Blaszczykowski - or 'Kuba' for short - is ready in case Götze is out having picked up the injury in last Saturday's 2-0 win over Nuremberg.

Surprise league leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach have the chance to extend their stay at the top when they are at Schalke on Sunday, with coach Lucien Favre having no injury worries.

Bayern Munich are at Kaiserslautern and are desperate to avoid slipping on another banana peel after losing there 2-0 last season.

"Over 34 league games, we can't compete with Bayern, but in a single game everything is possible, as we saw last year," said Kaiserslautern coach Marco Kurz.

"At least we won't be afraid and look forward to a great game with a crazy backdrop."

Bayern expect to have Dutch winger Arjen Robben and Germany striker Mario Gomez fit after both nursed knocks in the 1-0 win at FC Zurich in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Kaiserslautern are without 28-year-old Cameroon striker Kouemaha Dorge for the next four weeks after he picked up a groin strain in training.

In Saturday's basement battle, bottom side Cologne are at Hamburg with the hosts preparing to welcome back Peru striker Paolo Guerrero who has recovered from a torn thigh muscle.

"He has made a good impression in training," said coach Michael Oenning. "We are hoping he will keep up his good form from the Copa America."

Hamburg have strengthened their squad by bringing in five youngsters from English Premier League giants Chelsea including Slobodan Rajkovic, who may start in the centre of defence, as they look to recover from last week's 5-0 drubbing in Munich.

Freiburg host 2009 champions Wolfsburg and want-away striker Papiss Cisse has been told he will be staying in the German league as his team have not received an acceptable offer.

English Premier League side Fulham, Russia's Rubin Kazan and an unnamed French club have all submitted bids for Cisse, but his club insist the asking price of €15 million for the Senegal hot-shot has not been met.

Friday

Hertha Berlin v VfB Stuttgart

Saturday

Hamburg v Cologne, Nuremberg v Augsburg, Freiburg v VfL Wolfsburg,

Kaiserslautern v Bayern Munich, Hoffenheim v Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Dortmund

Sunday

Hannover 96 v Mainz 05, Schalke 04 v Borussia M'gladbach

AFP/mry

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