The German league leaders host BVB at the Allianz Arena on Saturday but their coach is taking nothing for granted – even though the visitors have already lost six times
Pep Guardiola insists that Borussia Dortmund remain Bayern Munich ‘s principal rivals for this season’s Bundesliga title – despite the 14-point gap between the two sides.
BVB have finished as runners-up to the Bavarians for the past two seasons but they are currently languishing in 15th place in the standings, having lost six of their opening nine games.
However, Guardiola is taking nothing for granted ahead of Saturday’s showdown at the Allianz Arena, not least because he believes Dortmund’s counterattacking style is ideally suited to taking on a possession-orientated team like Bayern.
“At this moment, Dortmund are still the biggest rival,” the Catalan told reporters on Friday. “The points difference means nothing in October.
“I don’t analyse the table. In my opinion this is a great team, no matter in what kind of situation they are right now. We’ll play against the best BVB.
“This is a special match because the opponent is very, very, very good.
“Also, our way of playing is excellent for them as we defend 40 metres in front of [goalkeeper] Manuel Neuer.
“But I won’t change my tactics. I have always played my teams very far forward – ever since my first day at Barcelona B.”
There is added spice to the game on account of the ongoing tension between the two clubs over the future of Dortmund forward Marco Reus, whom Bayern have made no secret of their interest in.
However, Guardiola insists that he is uninterested by all of the controversy and hype surrounding the fixture.
“I know that the game is important for our fans and the club, and also for Dortmund,” he acknowledged.
“But I’m a coach and these side issues don’t matter to me. It’s about football; that’s the reason i’m here, so I don’t waste a second on other things.”
Turning his attention to his starting line-up, Guardiola admitted that the game might have come just a little too soon for winger Arjen Robben, who has missed Bayern’s last two matches with a thigh problem.
“I don’t know whether he’ll feature yet,” the former Barcelona boss admitted. “He’s been better lately, but he’s still not at 100 per cent.”
Bayern lead the Bundesliga by four points from Borussia Monchengladbach, who host Hoffenheim on Sunday.