It is not yet clear what is happening with Roman Bürki and Abdou Diallo. "I haven't heard any news yet, but I think it's going well," said Lucien Favre on Thursday afternoon with regards to his injured goalkeeper. He then spoke about the rest of his squad saying, "Apart from that, everything is OK."

Everything is OK, apart from Marcel Schmelzer, who will miss the top fixture against Bayern. Even if Roman Bürki, who bruised his thigh after a collision with an opponent, is not able to play, then Marwin Hitz is an excellent keeper with outstanding reflexes who proved himself capable last week in the Cup game against Union Berlin. Diallo's return would also open up defensive options.

"Clever in defence and intelligent on the attack," are the demands of the manager, who did not want to enter into a formal debate about his opponents. "Bayern are Bayern. We will have to bring a top performance to them. They are highly experienced, from their backline right up to their attack."

Michael Zorc also showed little interest in discussions about the league derby, which Borussia Dortmund will go into for the first time as league leaders. "My opinion is that what is said in the lead up to a game is actually irrelevant. It doesn't matter who the favourite is. You don't start with a goal head start and there are no gifts." Although he does see a reason to be confident, he said, "We also know that we have to bring a different game to what we did on Tuesday. We lacked aggression against Atletico."

The deserved 2-0 loss on Tuesday was the end of an unbeaten run of 15 games, which made the blow a little harder to take. There were lessons to take, "Whether we win or lose, we always learn from it," said Favre. He also thought it was completely normal because, "We have a lot of young players and they still need time. At 19 or 20 years-of-age, you're not fully ready." When talking about the season so far he said, "We've taken some good steps in the right direction but we still have a lot to do, also tactically."

The challengers will have to bring their best to the record champions, both technically and tactically. "We need to be clever on and off the ball," demanded the coach. "We're all excited for this game. It has its own special charm," said sports director Zorc. "It's our objective to get the home win. It'll be an exciting game."

Boris Rupert