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Dortmund are now favourites, insists Beckenbauer
Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer has said defending champions Borussia Dortmund are now favourites to win the German league title with the Bavarians struggling for form since the winter break.
Bayern have picked up four points from a possible nine in their last three games and came from behind to draw at Hamburg on Saturday which saw them replaced at the top of the table by Dortmund.
In contrast, Borussia's 2-0 victory at Nuremberg on Friday means they have won all three of their league matches since January as Beckenbauer admits Bayern's game is lacking the confidence they oozed in the autumn.
With Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp insisting Munich will win the title in May, ex-Bayern president Beckenbauer, who both captained and coached Germany to World Cup wins, aimed his message straight at the Borussia boss.
"Listen, forget this overmodesty and hide-and-seek games with the motto 'only Bayern will be German champions'," wrote Beckenbauer in his column in Bild.
"Kloppo, you are the current champions, you are now the league leaders and you are the favourites for the title."
Beckenbauer says Bayern are lacking the "ease of the first half of the season.
"The confidence with which players like Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez had going forward.
"This confidence is exactly what Dortmund have rediscovered."
Things are tight at the top of the German table with Dortmund leading with 43 points, Bayern and Schalke are on 41, while Moenchengladbach are fourth with 40.
Dortmund have lost teenage playmaker Mario Goetze for up to two months with a groin injury, but Beckenbauer says that could even be an advantage.
"Dortmund are playing with confidence, despite the injury to Mario Goetze and that gives the young team even more confidence," he said.
And while Dortmund are out of the Champions League, Bayern face FC Basel in the Round of 16 on February 22 and their European campaign is an added distraction.
"The difficult period begins with the added burden of the Champions League, while Dortmund sit comfortably on the sofa, just as they did last season when they won the title," said Beckenbauer.
But Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said it is just a matter of time before his team fires again.
"What we have shown in the last three games doesn't meet the aspiration levels of Bayern Munich," said Heynckes at a press conference on Monday ahead of Bayern's German Cup quarter-final with Stuttgart on Wednesday.
"But it's only a matter of time before we again play successfully and good football again, which is why I am calm and relaxed."
Dortmund host Leverkusen on Saturday in the Bundesliga, while Bayern are home to Kaiserslautern.
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