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Bayern face resurgent Leipzig with Dortmund nipping at their heels

Bayern Munich face RB Leipzig on Saturday. Photo: Christof Stache/AFP

With two rounds of the Bundesliga season remaining, Bayern Munich face the biggest threat to their title hopes, at home against a resurgent RB Leipzig on Saturday. 

One point ahead of Borussia Dortmund atop the Bundesliga table, Bayern know winning their next two games will ensure a record-extending 11th straight Bundesliga title. 

While perennial bridesmaids Dortmund face a tricky trip to Augsburg, Bayern face a team who have won seven of their past eight. 

Promoted for the first time before the 2016-17 season, Leipzig has since emerged as a realistic challenger for Dortmund’s status as the best German team after Bayern.

Champions League semi finalists in 2019-20, Leipzig are the current German Cup holders. The Saxons have qualified for this year’s final, their fourth trip to Berlin’s showpiece event in the past five years. 

Leipzig sit third and can guarantee Champions League football next season with a win in Munich. 

Leipzig manager Marco Rose, who spent the 2021-22 season as Dortmund coach, said he knew what was at stake but was focused on his own side. 

“The fact is I don’t begrudge Dortmund fans from wanting to win the title, but at the end of the day it’s about us.”

A title race going to the final weeks is rare in the Bundesliga and it could be decided this weekend, if Bayern win and Dortmund drop points on Sunday. 

Even if Leipzig manage to claim a point or better, Dortmund face an unpredictable opponent in Augsburg, who beat Bayern at home in September. 

Augsburg manager Enrico Maassen, who spent several years coaching Dortmund’s juniors, told German tabloid Bild said he knew how much his “old home” wanted to win the title.

“I would be happy if Dortmund became champions” Maassen said on Tuesday, but added Augsburg would “give everything” to win on Sunday. 

Bayern President Herbert Hainer promised Augsburg a truck filled with beer if they manage to take a point off Dortmund.  

Maassen said “we don’t have many beer drinkers in our team, but our fans would certainly be happy about it.”

Fighting for a top four spot in the Premier League, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said on Tuesday he would “cross his fingers in front of the TV” for Dortmund to take the lead in the title race this weekend. 

Klopp was at the helm the last time Dortmund won the Bundesliga back in 2011-12. 

“I believe the boys can do it” Klopp told Germany’s Sportbild on Tuesday. “After 11 years, the shield belongs back in Dortmund.”

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