Bayern Plays Nuremberg in Bavarian Derby

A rested Bayern Munich hosts Nuremberg in the Bundesliga's Bavarian derby on Saturday knowing that another slip could bring Borussia Dortmund dangerously close.

Bayern lost in the previous round at Hannover and defending champion Dortmund is now only three points behind. But Dortmund has a tough trip to Stuttgart.

Bayern warmed up for the match against Nuremberg by routing second-division Ingolstadt 6-0 in the German Cup although coach Jupp Heynckes rested many of Bayern's top players. Nuremberg, Dortmund and Stuttgart also won in the German Cup.

Bayern had an eight-point lead after seven rounds in the Bundesliga. But Dortmund has bounced back from a sputtering start to win its last four Bundesliga matches, while Bayern lost in Hannover and earlier had a draw in Hoffenheim.

"Nothing has changed for me, I always knew that it would not be a piece of cake to win the title," Heynckes said.

"It looks like Dortmund will be our toughest rival. They have a very good team and they want to play for the title. But we have a good team too and we also want to stay at the top."

Captain Philipp Lahm said Dortmund has shown that it can play "good football, but it's really in our own hands."

"We have to keep up the pressure on Dortmund," forward Thomas Mueller said.

It has been nearly 20 years since Nuremberg's last win in Munich, a 3-1 victory in March 1992.

"We have to be very concentrated, otherwise they'll eat us alive," Nuremberg director Martin Bader said.

Dortmund turned on its vaunted attack against Cologne in the previous round and cruised to a 5-0 victory.

Stuttgart is in fifth place having won four of its last six and is only two points behind Dortmund.

"It is normal that we as German champions attract special attention but we will not allow ourselves to come under pressure and we will try to play the kind of game that made us strong last season," Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender said.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski has used the absence of the injured Lucas Barrios to establish himself in the starting lineup with seven goals in 10 games and is likely to be in Dortmund's attack in Stuttgart as well.

Third-place Schalke, which is one point behind Dortmund, hosts Hoffenheim. Hoffenheim's goalkeeper Tom Starke is likely to be back after a concussion.

Hannover, which is fourth and equal on points with Schalke, visits Borussia Moenchengladbach, which is trying to stop its slide down the standings.

Freiburg and Bayer Leverkusen kick off the 11th round on Friday.

On Saturday, Wolfsburg hosts Hertha Berlin and struggling Mainz, winless in eight Bundesliga matches, plays Werder Bremen.

On Sunday, Cologne plays Augsburg and Hamburger SV hosts Kaiserslautern.

Source: Associated Press

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