Defiant Dortmund ready to rival Bayern
With three new additions to their squad, Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund have insisted European champions Bayern Munich will not have it all their own way this season.
Dortmund secured their latest new signing on Tuesday when midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined from Shakhtar Donestk, having also recruited Saint-Etienne forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 24, and defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 25, from Werder Bremen.
Mkhitaryan, 24, impressed on Wednesday when the trio made their debuts in a 3-1 friendly win at Swiss champions FC Basel with the Armenian setting up the first goal and scoring the second.
Borussia host Bayern in the pre-season German Super Cup on July 27 in a repeat of the Champions League, which the Bavarians won 2-1 at Wembley.
Having won the 2010-11 and 2011-12 German titles, Dortmund were left empty handed last season as Bayern became the first German team to win the treble of Champions League, league and cup, breaking or equalling 25 Bundesliga records in the process.
They finished the German league season 25 points clear of nearest rivals Dortmund but Borussia's midfield star Marco Reus has insisted they will not have things their own way when the new season starts on August 9.
"The 25-point difference won't happen again," Reus told German magazine Kicker.
"We've had a lot of time to reflect on the mistakes we made in the Bundesliga last year.
"The new season begins for us on August 10 and we're going on the attack again."
Dortmund's Germany star Mario Goetze has joined Bayern, using a release clause in his contract which allowed him to leave for 37 million euros (US$47.5 million), and coach Jurgen Klopp admits he will be hard to replace, with Mkhitaryan set to step in.
"Our target has to be to improve," said the 46-year-old, as Dortmund conceded more than twice as many goals as Bayern last season.
"Of course we'll miss Mario Goetze, no team on the planet wouldn't, but we still conceded a lot of goals last season, even with Mario in the side.
"That's one area where we can definitely improve."
Klopp has said he is relishing having ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who won 14 titles in four years at the Spanish giants, as his opposite number on the Bayern bench.
"The way he had his team playing in Barcelona was simply fantastic and he's a real role model," said Klopp.
"Now he's at a new club and the first impression is that everything fits.
"In the past if you wanted to become a great coach you went abroad.
"Now someone like Guardiola has come to Germany."
And Dortmund's pre-season purchases of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan have not gone unnoticed in Munich.
"I don't know the players involved very well, but from what I do know of them, they are very, very good reinforcements," said Bayern's director of sport Matthias Sammer.
"We had respect before these transfers, but you can only congratulate Borussia Dortmund."
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