Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund return to Bundesliga action
After dismantling Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League, Bayern Munich can return to breaking Bundesliga records.
Bayern is riding a 13-match winning run in the Bundesliga and is poised to break the points record for a season when it hosts Freiburg on Saturday.
Having won the title with six matches to spare, another league record, Bayern has 81 points. That was the number of points Borussia Dortmund had when it won the title last season. There are four rounds left this season.
Dortmund also disposed of Spanish opposition in the Champions League semifinals, beating Real Madrid 4-1, and could be heading to a final against Bayern at Wembley Stadium. On Saturday, Dortmund travels to neighboring Fortuna Duesseldorf.
There could be more friction between the two top German clubs after speculation in the media about the possible transfer of Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored all four goals against Madrid, to Bayern.
The reports, fueled by comments from Lewandowski's agents, have been dismissed by Dortmund.
"It is my explicit wish that Robert plays next season for us. That's why we are giving up a transfer fee,'' chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke said.
Lewandowski has scored in 12 straight Bundesliga matches and tops the league with 23 goals.
Bayern caused a stir by luring 20-year-old midfielder Mario Goetze, Germany's brightest talent, from Dortmund. The news of the transfer was leaked a day before Dortmund's match against Madrid, possibly as a maneuver to deflect from the tax evasion case of Bayern president Uli Hoeness.
Goetze had an "exit clause'' in his contract and the transfer cost Bayern ?37 million ($48.4 million) fee.
Lewandowski has been linked with a move to Bayern for months, although the rumors had died down before being resurrected a day after his tremendous performance against Madrid.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes is probably going to rotate his lineup ahead of the second leg in Barcelona, but the team has dominated no matter who plays.
Striker Mario Mandzukic, who was suspended for the home leg and was rested before that in the Bundesliga, could be back in the starting lineup to get some practice before the trip to Barcelona.
Dortmund is likely to rest its top players as well.
Dortmund, 20 points behind Bayern, is eight points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen.
Leverkusen is seven points ahead of Schalke in the battle for the last two Champions League places. Third place is a direct slot into the Champions League, fourth place means qualifying.
Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt are one point behind Schalke, with Borussia Moenchengladbach and Hamburger SV another point back.
Last-place Greuther Fuerth opens the weekend Friday against Hannover.
On Saturday, Leverkusen hosts slumping Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg plays Moenchengladbach, Hoffenheim meets Nuremberg and Stuttgart travels to Augsburg.
On Sunday, Main hosts Eintracht and Hamburg travels to Schalke.