(Reuters) - Borussia Dortmund's seven-match winning streak in the Bundesliga this year has their fans dreaming of their first league title in more than a decade but their run will be put to the test on Friday against Marco Rose's in-form RB Leipzig.
Dortmund, who travel to Chelsea on Tuesday for their Champions League Round of 16 second leg leading 1-0, have improved their club record with their best start of the year, even better than in their 2011/12 title-winning season.
With the league's second best defence and attack Dortmund will be counting on more than 75,000 fans to push them to victory. Dortmund are in second place, level on 46 points with leaders Bayern Munich, while Leipzig are fourth on 42.
The Bulls have been equally impressive this season, having lost just twice in the league since Rose, who had a hapless one-season stint at Dortmund that ended in 2022, took over in September.
They visit Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 second leg on March 14 level at 1-1.
It will be Rose's first return to Dortmund after his departure from the Ruhr valley club but the coach said that while his season there ended with his sacking, there was no feeling of unfinished business.
"Once it is finished it is completed work," Rose told a news conference on Thursday. "That is how it is in football."
"Sometimes you go somewhere, sometimes they force you to go from somewhere. I am an open person who has contacts and will be happy to see some players and the Dortmund staff but ultimately I go there to win the game."
Rose is planning to start France forward Christopher Nkunku for the first time since his three-month injury break, with last year's Bundesliga player of the season having made three substitute appearances recently on his way to full fitness.
"We want his quality on the pitch," Rose said. "We had three games where he played for 20 or 30 minutes. Now he has a full training week behind him so he is an option to start."
"We will need a top performance in that stadium (given) those fans and that Dortmund winning streak. We have to get a few percentage points more out of our performance."
Bayern, ahead of Dortmund on goal difference, travel to lowly VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, while third-placed Union Berlin, on 43 points, host 12th-placed Cologne.