Bundesliga news

Ribery ready to end Dortmund challenge

November 12, 2013
By Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Franck Ribery believes Bayern Munich can end the Bundesliga title race by beating Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion later this month.

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Bayern ended Dortmund’s two-year reign as German champions last season, and they are well placed to retain their title after extending their lead to four points over the weekend as they beat Augsburg 3-0 and BVB suffered a 2-1 defeat at Wolfsburg.

On Nov. 23, following the international break, Bayern will have the chance to extend their advantage to seven points when they visit Dortmund, and Ribery says an away win would all but end their hosts’ hopes.

“That will certainly be the game of the year,” Ribery told bundesliga.de. “I am already looking forward to it. Should we take all three points there, we’d be seven ahead of BVB. It would decide the title race ahead of time.”

However, the France international, whose last Bundesliga defeat came at Dortmund in April 2012, is wary of Dortmund’s strength.

“We will need to play with a lot of patience, not become panicked and to take our chances,” he said. “Most of all, we should do everything in our power to avoid losing the ball, because Dortmund are incredibly strong on the counter.”

Bayern’s honorary president, Franz Beckenbauer, also believes Pep Guardiola’s side would be certain of clinching the title if they win the match.

Speaking at an award ceremony in Kitzbuehel on Monday, the West Germany legend said: “Should Bayern win in Dortmund, they will have a seven-point lead. That is a lot. Bayern will not throw that lead away.”

Bayern forward Thomas Mueller, however, warned that -- despite Dortmund’s recent defeats in the Champions League and Bundesliga -- there was no cause to underestimate their opponents.

“Just because Dortmund have now lost a game, it doesn’t mean we are out of sight,” he told Bild. “It doesn’t change that fast.

“With the three-point rule, you can quickly catch up a team with a four-point lead. We don’t want to allow to that happen but still, for me, it is clear: Bayern against Dortmund remains the pinnacle. That game was the Champions League final last season.”

However, Mueller said it was too soon to start referring to the clash as Germany’s ‘Clasico’, despite various newspapers adopting the term.

“Looking at it from a historical viewpoint, the game in Spain [between Real Madrid and Barcelona] does carry a different weight,” he said.

Nonetheless, he added: “During the ‘90s, Bayern versus Dortmund was already a top clash. Through the big successes of both teams in recent years, it has become even more explosive and intense.

“In the long run, Bayern versus Dortmund will become a match that electrifies the league as well as Europe.”


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