BERLIN: Borussia Dortmund will look to stay in touch with leaders Bayern Munich and recover from last week’s heavy loss when they take on Mainz 05 on Saturday, with top scorer Paco Alcacer returning from injury to boost their frontline.
Dortmund were crushed 5-0 by Bayern on Saturday and dropped a point behind the champions in the standings. Bayern are on 64 points and Dortmund on 63 with six games left to play.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, whose team have been far from convincing with two stoppage-time wins and a defeat in their last three matches, is likely to slot Alcacer back in.
The Spaniard, who has netted 16 times in the league, missed the crucial Bayern game through an arm injury but was back in team training on Wednesday.
American Christian Pulisic, who is recovering from a muscle injury he picked up on international duty, was also back training with the ball while Portugal’s Raphael Guerreiro did some light running again.
Defender Abdou Diallo was also back to fitness, Dortmund said.
“The most important thing is to win the next game,” said defender Manuel Akanji.
For Dortmund, there was no other result that will keep their title hopes alive and keep them in the running for their first league title in eight years.
The Bavarians are on a high after their big win over Dortmund, which helped them recapture top spot, as they look to earn a seventh record-extending Bundesliga title and make up for their Champions League round of 16 exit.
They had an injury scare when Corentin Tolisso, who had missed much of the season after a ligament tear on the third matchday, was carried off the training pitch on Wednesday.
But a medical examination later on Wednesday revealed that the 2018 world champion had suffered no injury and was cleared to play.
The Bavarians travel to mercurial Fortuna Duesseldorf, who drew 3-3 in Munich in November thanks to a hat-trick by Dodi Lukebakio.
But the Belgian striker, who has been one of the revelations of the Bundesliga this season with his eight goals and three assists, may not be in the Duesseldorf starting lineup.
“He did not play well in the last two or three matches. He needs to pull himself together,” said Duesseldorf coach Friedhelm Funkel.
Third-placed RB Leipzig are on 55 points and host European hopefuls VfL Wolfsburg, who are placed sixth with 45.