Dortmund relishing Bayern's 'big challenge'
Borussia Dortmund are relishing hosting European champions Bayern Munich in Saturday's Bundesliga showdown with midfielder Ilkay Gundogan suggesting they are currently the only European team who can beat the Bavarians.sports Updated: Nov 20, 2013 01:05 IST
Borussia Dortmund are relishing hosting European champions Bayern Munich in Saturday's Bundesliga showdown with midfielder Ilkay Gundogan suggesting they are currently the only European team who can beat the Bavarians.
Second-placed Dortmund, who are four points behind leaders Bayern in the Bundesliga, host Pep Guardiola's side at Borussia's Westfalenstadion in a repeat of May's Champions League final.
Bayern's France winger Franck Ribery has already said the league match will be "decisive in the title race" and it is being billed as the Bundesliga's key showdown.
"It's a big challenge, they are the most difficult team in the whole of Europe and it's a highlight to take on this top team," Germany midfielder Gundogan, who is currently injured, told magazine Kicker.
"In both the German Super Cup and the Champions League final, we have proved in recent months that we are the only team in the Bundesliga, and perhaps in the whole of Europe, who can deny Bayern.
"We believe in our own strengths and we're confident of winning the game."
Gundogan converted a penalty for Dortmund's only goal in their 2-1 defeat to Bayern in the Champions League final.
The 23-year-old also scored Dortmund's final goal in their 4-2 win at home against Bayern in July's German Super Cup final.
Gundogan has also said he is looking to seeing ex-Dortmund star Mario Goetze, who joined Bayern for €37 million (US$50m) in July.
This will be Goetze's first match in Dortmund since leaving to join rivals Bayern and the 21-year-old expects a challenging homecoming.
"It will be one of the most difficult moments of my career," Goetze admitted in Kicker.
"In the end, I have to deal with it. It was my decision to leave."
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has urged Borussia fans to spare Goetze any whistles and jeers.
"Whistles would not be justified, Mario hasn't deserved them," said Watzke.
"He behaved properly towards us."
Gundogan admitted it is strange to see Goetze play in Bayern's red shirt.
"It's unusual to see him in red," admitted Gundogan.
"But Mario is a comrade of ours, even if he plays for Bayern Munich.
"We still have contact with him. We wish him all the best and we hope that he does well on the path he's chosen.
"I think he'll come back to Dortmund with a lot of respect, because he knows how much he has to thank Borussia Dortmund for."
Gundogan last played in Germany's 3-3 draw with Paraguay in August, when he picked up a back injury and has not said when he will return.
"It will take a bit of time, I hope I can come back even stronger," added Gundogan, who admitted he has not set a return date to save himself possible disappointment.
First Published: Nov 20, 2013 01:03 IST