Bayern Munich will reignite their rivalry with Borussia Dortmund in a potential title decider at the Allianz Arena this weekend.
Borussia Dortmund will have the upper hand when they travel to Allianz Arena to face Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker on Saturday.
Going into this fixture, the visitors are leading their weekend opponents by two points, thanks to Bayern’s 1-1 draw with SC Freiburg last weekend. However, Dortmund were made to work hard for their win against VfL Wolfsburg in the last game as late goals from Paco Alcacer helped the Black and Yellows come away with all three points.
That being said, Lucien Favre’s men have won four of their last five matches in the Bundesliga and will take confidence from their 3-2 win over Bayern in the reverse fixture, earlier this season.
As for the Bavarians, they are coming on the back of a rusty form, notably securing a narrow 5-4 win over Heidenheim in a DFB Cup thriller in midweek. They looked extremely vulnerable in defence and coach Niko Kovac will be demanding a strong response when his side take on the league leaders on Saturday.
This will be the 100th meeting between these two sides in the Bundesliga, with the hosts having a far more superior record, having won 45 matches when compared to Dortmund’s 25. But, things could be different when they lock horns at the Allianz Arena this weekend.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over the two sides ahead of this highly anticipated Der Klassiker.
Team News & Tactics
The likely return of Manuel Neuer and David Alaba will be a huge boon for the home side though they will continue to miss out on the services of Arjen Robben and Corentin Tolisso, who is nearing his comeback to full fitness.
The returning Neuer is guaranteed to replace Sven Ulreich, who started against Heidenheim in midweek. As for Alaba, he could replace Rafinha in the left-back slot, though his fitness will be assessed just before the game. Joshua Kimmich, on the other hand, will be deployed in the right-back position, where he will look to exploit the spaces left by Dortmund’s marauding full-backs.
Mats Hummels could be given the nod ahead of Jerome Boateng and the experienced defender will be partnered by the ever-present figure of Niklas Sule at the heart of Bayern’s four-man backline.
Kovac could introduce Javi Martinez in midfield this weekend in an attempt to neutralize the threat of Marco Reus. The Spaniard will be partnered by the industrious and technically gifted figure of Thiago Alcantara at the base of Bayern’s 4-2-3-1.
Leon Goretzka, on the other hand, is likely to be deployed in a slightly advanced midfield role, where he will be partnered by James Rodriguez and Serge Gnabry while Robert Lewandowski will replace Thomas Muller as the centre-forward.
However, Muller, along with Kingsley Coman will provide Kovac with additional options in attack – options the Croatian could definitely utilize in the latter stages of the game.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Martinez, Alcantara; Rodriguez, Goretzka, Gnabry; Lewandowski
Veteran defender Lukasz Piszczek is unlikely to feature against Bayern this weekend, which could be a huge blow for Dortmund. The Black and Yellow camp have received further blows after it was confirmed that Paco Alcacer and Raphael Guerreiro didn’t make the trip to Munich.
They join Achraf Hakimi and Maximilian Philipp in the list of absentees for Dortmund while Christian Pulisic and Abdou Diallo are doubts and their fitness will be assessed ahead of the game.
Diallo’s potential absence could, however, force Favre to deploy a three-at the back formation, with Manuel Akanji, Julian Weigl and Dan-Axel Zagadou starting at the heart of the backline. Marius Wolf will retain his role in the right wing-back slot while Marcel Schmelzer might start on the opposite flank, especially if Diallo fails to make the starting eleven.
Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney will occupy the central midfield roles and the duo will play a key role in neutralizing the threat provided by the likes of Thiago and Rodriguez in half spaces.
Jadon Sancho is a guaranteed pick in the right wing slot and the young English forward will be partnered by Marco Reus in the final third. The duo will start just in behind Mario Gotze who will spearhead the Dortmund attack in the absence of Alcacer.
Predicted Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Akanji, Weigl, Zagadou; Wolf, Witsel, Delaney, Schmelzer; Sancho, Gotze, Reus
- The last time Dortmund – or any other team – were ahead of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga table after 27 games of the season was back in 2011-12, when the Westphalians went on to win the title.
- Robert Lewandowski has scored 13 Klassiker goals: 12 for Bayern and one for Dortmund; only Gerd Müller has more, with 14.
- Bayern Munich have already conceded as many goals this season (28) as they did in the whole of last term.
- Bayern Munich have lost the last four clashes with Dortmund when they found themselves behind their rivals in the standings.
- Dortmund have scored 21 goals in the final 15 minutes of games this season, establishing a new club record.
Player to Watch
After missing the last game due to the birth of his daughter, Marco Reus will be itching to return to the pitch against Bayern Munich this weekend. And it’s probably safe to say that he will remain the focal point of the Dortmund side as they aim to clinch their second win over the Bavarians this season.
The German international made a huge impact in the reverse fixture, twice scoring the equalizer. But, things could be harder this time around, with players like Paco Alcacer and Lukasz Piszczek struggling with injury.
That being said, the 29-year-old has an excellent record against Bayern and will hope to exploit the lack of pace from Hummels and Sule in order to manipulate the backline and create chances for his team. And with Alcacer ruled out, he may even be deployed as a false nine, making him the player to look forward to in this Klassiker.
Bayern Munich 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich are the clear favourites to seal all three points in this encounter despite having a rusty record, of late. The Bavarians are in superb goalscoring form and will have the home advantage to go with it as well, though they will need to be wary of the dangerous Dortmund attack.