Bayern Munich's fine form in the first half of the season is down to Borussia Dortmund, says Jurgen Klopp.
At the midway point of the Bundesliga season Bayern hold a nine-point lead at the top of the table and have cruised into the last 16 of the Champions League and the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal, where they will face Dortmund in February.
But that follows two trophyless seasons which have seen Dortmund's youthful set-up, led by manager Klopp, 45, claim back-to-back league titles. And he believes they have inspired their rivals to up their game.
"We have been winding Bayern up for two years," he said. "We have really charged them up. The new approach they have taken with a new director of sport (Matthias Sammer) and their transfer activities also have a bit to do with us.
"You could say we have been pulling their elastic for two years, and all they had to do was release themselves from it."
Dortmund trail Bayern by 12 points making it difficult for them to defend their Bundesliga title. And Klopp admits it will be near impossible to catch Jupp Heyncke's side unless they suffer a loss of form.
"We just want to achieve something outstanding once again,'' Klopp told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "If they (Bayern) don't shoot themselves in the foot now, then there is no taking the title away from them this season."