Revitalised Bayern look to close in further on Dortmund
Only a few weeks ago, Borussia Dortmund looked unbeatable in the Bundesliga, with champions Bayern Munich languishing in sixth place and seemingly out of title contention.
But, with the final matchday of the year ahead of the winter break looming this weekend, a rejuvenated Bayern could now move to within three points of the leaders, with a win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.
The Bavarians, who edged past RB Leipzig 1-0 yesterday morning (Singapore time) - thanks to Franck Ribery's 83rd-minute winner - have now won their last four league matches, and are level on 33 points with second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Dortmund, who on Tuesday suffered their first league loss of the season, are top on 39.
"We used Dortmund's assist to close in," Bayern coach Niko Kovac told reporters.
"We showed a will to win against Leipzig. Now we must again use all our power on Saturday and get the three points in (Eintracht) Frankfurt," he said of the first league meeting against his former club.
Kovac has every right to be brimming with confidence, given he was teetering on the brink of departure earlier this season when Bayern were suffering from a dip in form.
With Dortmund facing in-form Gladbach tomorrow, Bayern can hope to make up further lost ground.
"It is important to use such chances (from Dortmund's defeat)," said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
"Six points are still a lot but what will be important is the points we may get in Frankfurt."
Kovac has some concerns, with wingers Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry picking up injuries yesterday and the injured defender Jerome Boateng still doubtful for Sunday's encounter.
Dortmund's shock loss against promoted Fortuna Duesseldorf has rattled the leaders, who are also almost out of central defenders for the game against Gladbach.
"It was bound to happen," Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said of the defeat.
"It was just a game. We must now be thinking only of Friday now. We hate losing." - REUTERS