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Dortmund's new attack key to challenging Bayern

Associated Press
Aug 15, 2013 at 06:30pm IST

Berlin: Borussia Dortmund's new "five-star attack" is fueling speculation that Bayern Munich face a serious challenge in defending their Bundesliga title this season.

While Bayern are still adapting to Pep Guardiola, Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp has the advantage of five years' Bundesliga experience and a side well-attuned to his demands.

Dortmund reacted to Mario Goetze's defection to Bayern by signing Armenia attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who last weekend became the first Dortmund player to start a Bundesliga season with a hat-trick.

Dortmund's new attack key to challenging Bayern

While Bayern are still adapting to Pep Guardiola, Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp has the advantage of five years' Bundesliga experience.

Together with established attackers Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Jakub Blaszczykowski, the new arrivals have helped turn despair at Goetze's departure into confidence of emerging even stronger without the Germany star.

Klopp now has more options up front and a variety of attacking line-ups to field.

"You won't hear an open challenge for the title from any of us," goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller told Kicker on Thursday. "But there won't be a 25-point gap on Bayern Munich again."

Last weekend's 4-0 scoreline at Augsburg was misleading, however, as Dortmund found it difficult to break down the stubborn home defense until Aubameyang broke the deadlock, and Klopp knows there's still work to be done.

"It would be stupid if we put on our best performance of the season in Augsburg," he said.

Dortmund play promoted Eintracht Braunschweig on Sunday. Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht is an old friend of Klopp - the two shared a room in their playing days at Mainz.

"I have huge respect for Juergen because he has delivered an incredible amount to German football and above all to the coaching profession," Lieberknecht said. "Also, because he began (coaching) so successfully in Mainz, other coaches got their chance from within their own clubs' ranks."

Lieberknecht was appointed Braunschweig coach in 2008, when he had three games to prevent the side's demotion to the fourth tier. A 2-0 win over Dortmund's reserve team on the last day of the season qualified Braunschweig for the newly formed third division.

"That was more than a turning point," Lieberknecht said. "We cheated death against Borussia."

Now the club is back in the Bundesliga after 28 years, and face a trip to Dortmund's 80,000-capacity stadium.

"A game in Dortmund is definitely the return to the big stage, this is a whole other dimension for many of my players," Lieberknecht said.

Bayern's teething problems under Guardiola were evident despite the 3-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach last weekend. The Spaniard could be seen gesturing frantically from the sideline as he struggled to convey instructions to the players.

They will have a clearer idea of what's required against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Frankfurt were beaten 6-1 at promoted Hertha Berlin last week and will be keen to avoid another humiliation.

"If we play like that against Bayern, then we'll concede 10. Then we'll have a really good goal difference," Frankfurt coach Armin Veh said. "We won't be going with puffed-up chests into the game."

Schalke visit Wolfsburg on Saturday, looking to improve after an opening draw against Hamburger SV.

"I'm disappointed with our performance," said Schalke general manager Horst Heldt. "It was too sluggish, much too slow."

Schalke's 19-year-old Julian Draxler is in a race against time to be fit after bruising his left Achilles tendon and sustaining a cut to his calf against Hamburg.

Wolfsburg will hoping to keep 11 players on the pitch after two sendings-off in its defeat to Hannover.

"We do well with the foot and with the heart. We have to improve with the head," said Wolfsburg general manager Klaus Allofs.

Leverkusen visit Stuttgart on Saturday, with Stefan Kiessling hoping to extend his seven-game goalscoring streak for the visitors.

"I've nothing against it if it goes on," Kiessling said.

Former Germany great Uwe Seeler's grandson Levin Oztunali is likely to get another run-out. At 17 years, 147 days, the midfielder became the youngest Leverkusen player to play in the Bundesliga last weekend.

Also Saturday, Werder Bremen host Augsburg, Freiburg play Mainz, Hamburg host Hoffenheim and Hannover will visit Moenchengladbach.

Hertha will defend their unexpected hold on first place at Nuremberg on Sunday.

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