Reus set to miss Dortmund's trip to Bayern
Marco Reus is expected to miss Borussia Dortmund's Klassiker showdown with Bayern Munich.
Dortmund's fierce rivals can secure a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title on Saturday if Schalke fail to beat Freiburg and Jupp Heynckes' men go on to triumph at the Allianz Arena.
Although Bayern's procession to the title has long been a formality, having Germany forward Reus available to delay the inevitable would have been a welcome boost to boss Peter Stoger.
However, 28-year-old's injury curse continues to plague him and he has not made sufficient progress in rehabilitation from an adductor problem.
"He hasn't practiced with the team yet," Stoger told a pre-match news conference. "I doubt that he will be fit for Saturday."
Another of Germany's most gifted natural talents to have been compromised by fitness struggles is Mario Gotze, who is in his second season back at Dortmund after a mixed time at Bayern.
The 25-year-old, who scored the winner in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina, was left out of Joachim Low's squad for friendlies with Spain and Brazil over the past week.
"He doesn't seem too depressed," Stoger said of Gotze's omission. "I think he knows that he still has a chance [to make the World Cup].
"I'm not making it that easy for Bayern so I'm not going to say [if Gotze will play on Saturday]."
— Mario Götze (@MarioGoetze) February 11, 2018
Dortmund have lost 4-1 and 5-1 on their past two Bundesliga visits to Bayern and Stoger is keen to make life a lot more difficult and crash any potential champions' party.
"Them lifting the title on Saturday, that's not our plan," he said. "Bayern, of course want to be the best team in Germany but we have the ambition [this season] to be the second-best team in Germany.
"They are a great team with a lot of individual class. They have a lot of experienced players who can deal with setbacks within a game.
"First, we need to show our full effort in the defensive department. Then, you need to break Bayern's rhythm with your own phases of possession.
"I have a lot of respect for this team [Dortmund], knowing what a tough season it is. They are working very hard on reaching our minimum aim – Champions League qualification."
Omer Toprak is unlikely to be part of that defensive effort having been unable to train this week, meaning Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Manuel Akanji are Dortmund's expected starters at centre-back.
Shinji Kagawa (ankle), Andriy Yarmolenko (Achilles), Dan-Axel Zagadou (hamstring), Erik Durm (ankle) and Sebastian Rode (groin) all remain sidelined.