Bender determined to rekindle Dortmund-Bayern rivalry

Jurgen Klopp’s team have endured a disappointing Bundesliga season but the Germany midfielder believes an improving side can give the league leaders a stern test

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender is determined to rekindle his side’s rivalry with Bayern Munich despite their disappointing Bundesliga season.

A recent revival has left Jurgen Klopp’s side in 10th place but they have fought relegation, rather than contended for the title with Bayern, for most of the campaign so far.

The return of former Dortmund stars Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski, however, will add spice to the occasion when the two sides meet on April 4 despite Bayern’s clear lead at the top of the table.

“I have contact with Mario, we’re texting sometimes,” Bender told reporters. “But ahead of such a game there’s no more contact than usual.

“Of course, it’s not the same situation like it was in previous years where we were really close in the standings.

“I think we have found our strength again. We have a good defence again and are playing successfully again. We always showed in the past that we could keep pace with them and even win.

“Everyone is looking forward to that special task. Maybe some may underestimate us and say we’re not at their best level at the moment.

“It would be nice if we could show them that we’re still a top team and can always surprise.”

Bender returned from a long-term knee injury recently and his comeback has coincided with an upturn in Dortmund’s fortunes.

“I wasn’t able to do anything only for two weeks,” he explained. “After that I could start with the rehab.

“All in all, it was four weeks and after that I felt really good. Of course, after this the rhythm was missing a little bit but I felt good and I am feeling good right now.

“Since my return I made every training session and I’m in top condition. Although I need the international break to train and work every day to get the final tuning that is still missing.”

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