Bayern Munich face the biggest threat to their Bundesliga dominance in recent years, president Uli Hoeness has said, ahead of a crucial top-of-the-table clash with Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund, unbeaten domestically this season, could open a seven-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga if they beat Bayern at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday.
"We kept Dortmund at bay for six years now. It's OK they are now on top," Hoeness told reporters following the Champions League victory against AEK Athens on Wednesday. "I've said that we'll pit ourselves against our decisions at the end of the season.
"We are not as arrogant as you all believe. We all would like to win the title, but if that's not the case, FC Bayern won't perish."
Dortmund suffered a first defeat of the campaign when they were beaten by Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, but Hoeness said they are favourites against Bayern, who are lacking in confidence.
"We must focus on improving our game, play more confident football again. Confidence will bring better football," Hoeness said. "Dortmund have played a very, very good season so far. We won't go there as favourites, but rather as outsiders, for the first time in many years. We must make sure we play a good match and see where that will take us."
Bayern coach Niko Kovac spoke about the need for Bayern's senior players to stay behind him during a testing start to the season, and Hoeness reiterated his plan to back the Croatian.
"I've not changed my stance. My statements are never valid for two, three weeks only," Hoeness said, adding that he has no interest in identifying a possible mole in Bayern's dressing room following recent leaks.
"It would not change a thing," he said. "Because that's an ulcer you can't get rid of. It makes no sense."
Hoeness apologised for his part in a news conference last month in which he criticised former Bayern defender Juan Bernat, while also attacking the media.
Hoeness said he does not regret the news conference, but rather only a handful of statements made during the 30-minute long show.
"I am really sorry that I insulted Juan Bernat for his style of play in one match," he said. "I would not do it like that again."