Borussia Dortmund will look to retain their place at the top of the table as they host Bayern Munich at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Lucien Favre has done incredibly well with Dortmund this season, guiding his team to the top of the league table as we go into Matchday 11 of the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign. The last time Dortmund walked into Der Klassiker while being ahead of Bayern in the league table was back in 2011/12 campaign and the Black and Yellows did manage to win the title during that corresponding season.
But, that was also the last time any team other than Bayern managed to get their hands on the title, as the Bavarians went on to win six consecutive league titles from 2013 to 2018.
That being said, Dortmund have been a dominant force in the Bundesliga this campaign and are the definite favourites going into this clash. Despite tasting their first defeat of the season during the midweek clash against Atletico, the Ruhrpott boasts a solid team, who are fully capable of outdoing Bayern this weekend.
Speaking of Bayern, they have already dropped 10 points so far, with their most recent mishap coming in the draw with SC Freiburg last weekend. Although the Bavarians did manage to secure a comfortable 2-0 victory in midweek’s Champions League fixture against AEK, doubts remain regarding their capability of facing such a well-oiled machine that is Dortmund.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of their highly anticipated match-up this weekend.
Team news & tactics
Lucien Favre will be worrying over the fitness of Roman Burki and Abdou Diallo, although we can expect the former to return to full fitness by Saturday while the latter didn’t feature against Atletico and remains a serious doubt.
As a result, Favre will likely opt for Dan-Axel Zagadou in central defence as he partners Manuel Akanji, who looked out of touch against Atletico. Lukasz Piszczek will retain his place as the right-back, meaning Achraf Hakimi will once again have to start on the opposite flank. Hakimi’s pace will allow him to play a more attacking role while Piszczek is expected to play a deeper role and help out the partnering defenders.
In midfield, Dortmund will resort to their trusted duo of Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel. Delaney’s tremendous work-ethic could be crucial in harrowing the Bayern midfielders while Witsel will be in charge of making Dortmund’s transition in midfield as well as breaking up the play with his intelligent positional sense.
The BVB attack will be led by Paco Alcacer, who has already plundered seven goals in five matches. He will be supported by Marco Reus, who is expected to roam freely across the final third and use his incisive movements to carve out the vulnerable Bayern defence.
In wider positions, Raphael Guerreiro will be chosen ahead of Maximilian Philipp on the left flank, while Jadon Sancho will retain his place on the right. Christian Pulisic could play a key role in the second half.
Probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Akanji, Zagadou, Hakimi; Delaney, Witsel; Sancho, Reus, Guerreiro; Alcacer.
With Corentin Tolisso out injured, we expect Niko Kovac to take the huge gamble of deploying Javi Martinez as the defensive midfielder. His crisp passing and excellent positioning could aid Bayern in midfield but similarly, his lack of pace could also enable Dortmund to breach the Bavarian midfield.
But one thing is for sure, Martinez operating as the defensive midfielder will allow Thiago Alcantara to play in a more attacking role alongside James Rodriguez. Both the players boast exceptional talent in terms of creating chances in the final third and it will be interesting to see what measures do Dortmund take in order to isolate them this weekend.
In defence, Jerome Boateng will likely make way for Niklas Sule, following a series of inconsistent performances. Sule will form the central defensive partnership alongside ex-BVB captain Mats Hummels, whose accurate long-balls and laser passes could stretch the Dortmund press. Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba will occupy the fullback positions as usual.
And finally, in attack, Robert Lewandowski will look to extend his excellent scoring tally against Dortmund. The Polish international has netted 12 goals in just 15 meetings against his former club. He will be supported by the wide-duo of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben with Manuel Neuer starting in goal.
Probable lineup (4-1-4-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Martinez; Robben, Alcantara, Rodriguez, Ribery; Lewandowski.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Borussia Dortmund‘s last 8 home games.
- Bayern Munich have won in three of their last five visits to Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
- Both Lucien Favre and Niko Kovac will be coaching their first Klassiker matches.
- Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season (7 wins, 3 draws) and are also the league’s top scorers.
- Bayern have been winning at both half time and full time in their last 3 matches against Borussia Dortmund in all competitions.
It’s almost needless to say that Borussia Dortmund’s offensive game will revolve around Marco Reus. Indeed, Reus has been involved in 11 of Dortmund’s 30 league goals so far this campaign and thus, his contribution could be crucial this weekend.
Although the German international may not be as sharp as he was a few years back, his dynamic movements in the final third will certainly cause some problems to the Bayern defence that has looked extremely vulnerable this season.
He will partner Alcacer and form the first line of the BVB press while his exceptional technical qualities will allow him to link-up with his teammates in order to probe the opposition. It will be interesting to see how he fares against the mighty Bavarians.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich could be in for yet another tough game this weekend, with Dortmund boasting a balanced team that is quite capable of outclassing the Bavarians. As mentioned earlier, the German champions have looked extremely shaky in defence which is coupled with their attacking problems and thus, we could expect a 2-0 triumph for the hosts in this one.