Bayern's 7-goal games attracting attention

NESHA STARCEVIC AP Sports Writer Published:

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Borussia Dortmund sent congratulations when Bayern Munich reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League this week. No need to get on the wrong side of a team that has scored seven goals in both of its last two matches.

Dortmund is five points ahead of Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga but still has to play the Bavarians in a match many think might decide the championship.

There is still nearly a month before that crucial showdown and both teams are trying not to make mistakes against lower-ranked opposition until then.

Dortmund was the first to blink last weekend when it was held to a 0-0 draw by lowly Augsburg, ending its run of eight straight wins. But Dortmund remains unbeaten in 19 matches as it goes into the home game against Werder Bremen on Saturday.

"We weren't happy with the draw in Augsburg, there were things we could have done better. But this has only spurred us on," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "I was among those who believed that Bayern could still play some really good football this season."

Bayern, which beat Hoffenheim 7-1 last weekend and then did even better in a 7-0 rout of FC Basel in the Champions League, travels to struggling Hertha Berlin.

Mario Gomez, who scored seven goals over Bayern's last two matches, has scored more goals this season than the entire Hertha team.

Gomez has scored 34 goals in 36 matches this season, including a league-high 21 in the Bundesliga. Hertha has 26 goals for the season and only two in the last 10 matches.

"We have to maintain our momentum in games away from home now," Gomez said ahead of the trip to Berlin. "We have to win all matches in the Bundesliga."

The main reason Bayern is five points behind Dortmund is the fact that it still hasn't won away from home since the Bundesliga resumed after the winter break.

Hertha is three points away from the bottom and desperately needs any point it can get. Newly hired 73-year-old coach Otto Rehhagel is a master of stifling tactics and Bayern can expect an opponent that will put 10 men behind the ball and erect a defensive wall.

"It's going to be difficult in Berlin because I suspect Rehhagel has already started mixing cement," Bayern sporting director Christian Nerlinger joked.

"Bayern have outstanding players but we have to play without fear," Rehhagel said.

Dortmund is beginning to experience some off-field distractions that could erode some of its much-vaunted team spirit.

The agent of the team's top scorer, Robert Lewandowski, reportedly went public in Poland to complain about what he saw as an inadequate offer by Dortmund to extend the striker's contract beyond 2014.

Dortmund's front office was upset by the remarks and sporting director Michael Zorc said he was angered to "read and hear such comments in the media."

Lewandowski has been in the starting lineup in each of the 25 Bundesliga matches and has 16 goals.

Then came the complaints of a frustrated Ivan Perisic in the media about not getting enough playing time. Perisic is in his first season with Dortmund and it took Lewandowski also a full season to break through.

Dortmund will not want to cede any more ground to Bayern when it hosts sixth-place Werder Bremen. Werder will be without top striker Claudio Pizarro, who is suspended.

Borussia Moenchengladbach, which has been losing pace and is now three points behind Bayern in third place, has a tough trip at No. 5 Bayer Leverkusen.

Schalke, one point behind Moenchengladbach, visits last-place Kaiserslautern on Sunday.

Hoffenheim will be seeking to recover from the drubbing in Munich when it hosts Stuttgart on Friday.

Also Saturday, Mainz travels to Augsburg, Hamburger SV hosts Freiburg and Nuremberg plays Wolfsburg. In the second match on Sunday, Hannover hosts Cologne.