Dortmund aim to rebuild Bundesliga lead

BERLIN - Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic has recovered in time for the league leaders' clash against third-placed Hanover 96 on Saturday, a major boost for the title favourites after two recent slip-ups.

Dortmund have 62 points but have seen their impressive 12-point advantage shrink to just seven over second-placed Bayer Leverkusen following a loss and a draw in their last two fixtures.

Subotic's quick return from a foot injury sustained in Serbia's Euro 2012 qualifier against Northern Ireland last week, is a positive development for Dortmund, who are looking to maintain a healthy advantage at the top with seven games left.

"Neven's injury is painful but it also heals quickly. It should not be a problem for Saturday," coach Jurgen Klopp told reporters.

Klopp will need the tall 22-year-old against Hanover, whose spectacular season has seen them rise to third place on 50 points and on course for a Champions League qualifying round spot just a year after narrowly avoiding relegation.

With Bayern Munich a mere two points behind in fourth on 48, Hanover will be going all out for victory at Dortmund to keep the defending champions behind them.

"Dortmund have taken a hit. Now we want to anger them a bit more and by doing that, we also want to strengthen our position," Hanover coach Mirko Slomka said.

However, Slomka is likely to be unable to call on first choice keeper Ron-Robert Zieler, who is still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury. Florian Fromlowitz is expected to deputise.

"Ron told me he is still in pain. I am skeptical for the Dortmund game," Slomka added.

Bayern host bottom-side Borussia Moenchengladbach and only a win will do if they are to salvage any consolation from a disappointing season with a Champions League berth.

Next year's Champions League final will be held in Munich and the Bavarians are desperate not to miss out on a chance of making that final.

"I don't think I will ever be a bigger Dortmund fan than this weekend," Bayern president Uli Hoeness admitted, hoping for a Hanover defeat.

Bayer Leverkusen, who have yet to write off their title chances, travel to relegation-threatened Kaiserslautern, looking to extend their three-match winning streak.