Enigmatic Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp will want nothing more than to win the German Cup as he departs this season. But first he has to defeat Bundesliga champions Bayern, on Tuesday night in Munich.
The clock is ticking on Jürgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund career with just four Bundesliga games remaining for the club legend. Before that happens though, the most wanted head coach in Europe will travel to Bayern Munich with his team, one last time.
Bayern had planned to present Klopp with a bunch of flowers before the game, in what has to be the biggest sign of friendship between the clubs in recent times. But Klopp asked for it not to take place.
"It's a lovely gesture, but on Tuesday we're looking for a fight," Klopp said. "We don't want to be softened up by flowers."
In fact, Klopp has been adamant all along that his departure shouldn't be a farewell tour. He does want to go out on a high though, after BVB’s rollercoaster season which has seen more downs than ups.
Bayern vs. Dortmund: the history
Klopp's overall record against Bayern is pretty mixed: eight wins, five draws and nine defeats. Still, in the Bundesliga, Dortmund has clearly been Bayern’s biggest challenger in recent years.
In the Cup though, Bayern has been the dominant team in recent years. They've won three of the last five German Cup trophies. Dortmund did famously beat them 5-2 in 2012 though, but that seems a long time ago now.
A repeat of last year's DFB Pokal final, in which Bayern won controversially in extra-time, allows both sides another bite at the cherry. BVB are yet to win a Cup game in Munich.
In some ways, Dortmund has nothing to lose. The team's miraculous rise to sit within a point of European qualification in the Bundesliga means the German Cup isn't their only avenue for European football next season.
The majority of the Bundesliga was quick to congratulate Bayern after Borussia Mönchengladbach's win over Wolfsburg secured them the title. Even Borussia Dortmund sent their best wishes, but as Bayern held muted celebrations behind the scenes, the focus of the team – which has been on the German Cup and Champions League for a long time – gets back into gear.
Bayern's season hasn't been as simple as recent years. The title race lasted a month longer in 2014/15 than it did the year before, with injuries, staffing issues and the improvement of teams around them making for a much tougher campaign for the Bavarians.
As the season hits crunch time, Bayern will welcome back Javi Martinez and Arjen Robben this week. After Philipp Lahm and Thiago returned with great success, the injury of David Alaba is Bayern's only concern of that kind right now. Holger Badstuber's absence is a shame, but he is now becoming seriously injury-prone.
For the men in yellow and black, Marco Reus' return to action in last Saturday's win over Frankfurt gives the guests a boost. Mitch Langerak - who has never lost to Bayern or in the German Cup - will keep his place in between the posts, as Roman Weidenfeller remains out through injury. Javi Martinez is likely to be in the squad, as he was against Hertha Berlin on Saturday, but may not play. Arjen Robben could also feature, although Pep Guardiola said on Monday that he would only decide on the starting eleven on the day of the match.