Borussia Dortmund's players (Photo: Reuters)
Borussia Dortmund have a record better than most against Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich having not lost to their title rivals in the league since 2010 but they face an injury crisis ahead of their clash on Saturday.
Dortmund, four points behind Bayern, must patch up a depleted back line with central defenders Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic out for months with injuries.
Left back Marcel Schmelzer and right back Lukasz Piszczek are also unavailable, with Germany international Schmelzer out for three weeks and Poland defender Piszczek only just back after a double hip surgery in the close season.
Coach Juergen Klopp signed free agent Manuel Friedrich this week but it is still unclear whether he Germany international, who has not played since leaving Bayer Leverkusen last season, will be fit for the game.
"I have never seen such an extreme situation at Dortmund. Our entire defence with which we won the double (in 2012) has been obliterated," said Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said.
"We should not be talking about the title now. We have to keep on their heels."
Dominant Bayern, who beat Dortmund 2-1 in last season's Champions League final en route to winning the first treble by a German team, want revenge for their season-opening German Super Cup defeat to their fierce rivals.
They will, however, be without winger Franck Ribery who cracked a rib in France's 3-0 win over Ukraine on Tuesday, as coach Pep Guardiola looks to to extend their record-breaking 37-game unbeaten run.
Bayern will also be without injured Bastian Schweinsteiger but defender Jerome Boateng is fit to play despite sustaining a minor knock on the heel in Germany's over England win at Wembley on Tuesday.
Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, who will miss the big match through injury, said he hoped former Dortmund darling Mario Goetze would receive a good reception after his high-profile transfer in the close season.
"I think he will come with a lot of respect because he knows how much he owes Dortmund.
"It is still a bit unusual to see him in red but he is still a colleague. I hope there are no jeers and whistles but I do not assume that it will be that way. Emotions are high when it comes to football."
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