We're playing VfB not BVB! OK?, snaps under-pressure Bayern boss Kovac

Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac is feeling the heat in the Bundesliga title race as the defending champions look to close the nine-point gap behind Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.

Dortmund trounced Hanover 5-1 on Saturday as Bayern dropped to third in the table on points difference after Borussia Moenchengladbach leap-frogged them into second with a 2-0 win over Augsburg.

Bayern host relegation-threatened VfB Stuttgart at Munich's Allianz Arena on Sunday and Kovac grew impatient at repeated questions about the title race with Dortmund.

"We're not playing against BVB (Dortmund), we're playing against VfB -- and we have to beat them first," snapped Kovac.

"Dortmund aren't doing much wrong at the moment. If they wobble, they will not fall, but there are still 16 games left to go."

With the gap now nine points, Bayern have even less margin for further error and must avoid a shock defeat against a Stuttgart side who have lost their last three games.

Bayern squandered six points in the first-half of the season in draws against Augsburg, Freiburg and Fortuna Dusseldorf, who they were all expected to comfortably beat.

"That's why we do not make the mistake of underestimating VfB, we want to win and stay on track," said Kovac emphatically.

As Stuttgart coach Markus Weinzierl put it on Thursday, one look at where Dortmund are in the table should be motivation enough for Bayern.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sees no cause for alarm.

"We should take it easy -- we are not the hunted, we're the hunters -- let's see what happens. Dortmund has a good team, but we don't have a bad one either," he said.

Kovac hopes to have Germany winger Serge Gnabry fit again, but veteran forwards Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are sidelined by injury.

Mats Hummels is poised to partner Niklas Suele at centre-back as Jerome Boateng is struggling with a cold.

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