Bundesliga leaders Borussia
Dortmund, in formidable form, will be looking to extend their
unbeaten run of 21 league games against VfB Stuttgart on Friday.
Playmaker Mario Gotze has returned to training after more
than two months out with a groin injury and extended his
contract to 2016 this week, but will not play against Stuttgart.
However, the 19-year-old Germany international's imminent
return will only boost Dortmund's chances of a second successive
"As things stand now everyone else is fit and ready for
Stuttgart," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp, who will also be
without injured Felipe Santana.
Gotze was key in last season's title run and had been
outstanding until his injury in late January.
His comeback in time for what could become a title decider
against second-placed Bayern Munich on April 11 is good news for
Five points clear of Bayern with seven games left, Dortmund
take on Stuttgart having won 10 of their last 11 league matches
and extended their unbeaten run to 21 games. They could open up
an eight-point lead, with Bayern in action on Saturday.
The Bavarians have been in spectacular form themselves and
enjoyed a 2-0 Champions League quarter-final first-leg win at
Olympique Marseille on Wednesday.
They are expected to have an easier task at
relegation-threatened Nuremberg in their Bavarian derby
but sports director Christian Nerlinger warned that the crowded
schedule, which also includes a German Cup final against
Dortmund in May, could take its toll.
Bayern, chasing a treble of titles, have won their last
three league games, scoring 15 goals in the process, and are on
track for a Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid.
"We will need to reach our limits for the next four or five
weeks," Nerlinger said. "That will be a mental as well as
physical challenge. We are in the final stretch in all
competitions and the team is motivated."
On Sunday third-placed Schalke 04, on 53 points, four
behind Bayern, travel to Hoffenheim while Borussia
Monchengladbach, on 51, are in action at Hannover 96.
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