The first Klassiker of the season is upon us as Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich go head-to-head at the Signal Iduna Park with both points and bragging rights on offer this Saturday. Both teams come into the match on the back of midweek Champions League wins, but it is the Bundesliga that counts this weekend.
BVB host the Rekordmeister looking to overturn an awful run of results which has seen the Schwarzgelben defeated in the last seven league meetings between the two big rivals. Not since November 2018 have Dortmund got the upper hand over Bayern and the poor run of defeats hurts.
The two sides meet this weekend with both teams sitting on 15 points although Dortmund have lost three matches to Bayern’s one. The latest defeat came last week away at Köln where despite controlling the first half, they allowed the hosts to stage a comeback and stun them with three goals. Edin Terzic’s side are still struggling in a number of areas and go from producing a top display one week to disappointing the next.
There are a number of areas of concern (the best option up front, the ideal defensive partnership, the most effective line-up behind the striker, questions over their mentality) and a lot of these will need to be addressed if they are to stop the rot against Bayern and secure a long-overdue win.
A pleasing display on Wednesday saw them beat Sevilla in Spain so they return to the Ruhr with confidence. Confidence however counts for little against Bayern, and it is application and effectiveness that will be required.
The Bavarians too go into the clash off the back of a good Champions League performance- a 5-0 win over Viktoria Plzen. All the talk of a crisis at the club has dissipated following their win over Bayer Leverkusen and the midweek victory. Jamal Musiala continues to shine brighter than anyone while Sadio Mané has returned to form with goals in his last two games.
Another win over arch-rivals Dortmund will put talk of trouble well and truly to bed and will possibly see Bayern return to the top of the Bundesliga table where they feel they rightly belong.
Edin Terzic will be boosted by the news that Mats Hummels, Gregor Köbel and Giovanni Reyna could all be available for the Bayern clash, but Marco Reus misses out. Which players make the starting XI remains to be seen, but definitely still out are Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Mo Dahoud.
Formation-wise the BVB coach could opt for the double-six in midfield or go a bit more ambitious with one holding midfielder and two number eights as he has tried in Europe successfully. Youssoufa Moukoko could keep his place in attack after an impressive display against Sevilla.
Possible line-up: Köbel, Meunier, Süle, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro, Can, Özcan, Bellingham, Brandt, Malen, Moukoko
Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller both missed the midweek game with positive Covid tests. Kimmich has now tested negative and will possibly feature, but Müller still has some cold symptoms and will not.
Kingsley Coman could make a return to the squad with Lucas Hernandez the only major other absentee.
Possible line-up: Neuer, Pavard, Upamecano, de Ligt, Davies, Kimmich, Sabitzer, Musiala, Gnabry, Sané, Mané
What they’re saying:
Edin Terzic: “It’s our responsibility to show from the start that we want to leave the pitch as winners. We want to take the crowd with us. We know what they expect from us and we want to live up to that.
“Against Bayern you need courage to stay on the ball, courage to go one-on-one. Not only against Bayern, but especially against Bayern.
“Marco Reus will not be able to be used. With Gregor Köbel we’ll see how he feels after the final training session. Giovanni Reyna, Mats Hummels and Marius Wolf will all be in final practice and may be available.”
Julian Nagelsmann: “They [Dortmund] are a very good side, they have made some good signings and have put together a strong team. When they defend deep, they are always dangerous on the counter. They have good players who always sprint behind the last line, they have a good tempo. In general, I think they’re having a solid season, are a top opponent and it will be a good game.
“It’s important that victory number number nine follows. But in general it has no relevance for the game. You have to prove yourself again. It’s an important game, in terms of the table and also to set an example.
“Victory is above everything. It will certainly be a bit more controlled than the last duels. Dortmund always defends deeply, with a good compactness waiting for counterattacks. There is always a clear sequence with them when they counterattack. It is important that we win, and we’ll do everything to get it.”
05.10.22 Sevilla (a) 4-1 W (Champions League)
01.10.22 Köln (a) 3-2 L (Bundesliga)
17.09.22 Schalke (h) 1-0 W (Bundesliga)
14.09.22 Manchester City (a) 2-1 L (Champions League)
10.09.22 RB Leipzig (a) 3-0 L (Bundesliga)
04.10.22 Viktoria Plzeň (h) 5-0 W (Champions League)
30.09.22 Bayer Leverkusen (h) 4-0 W (Bundesliga)
17.09.22 Augsburg (a) 1-0 L (Bundesliga)
13.09.22 Barcelona (h) 1-0 W (Champions League)
10.09.22 VfB Stuttgart (h) 1-1 D (Bundesliga)
The corresponding fixture last season at the Signal Iduna Park saw Bayern win a controversial matchday 14 game 3-2. The home side made the ideal start with Julian Brandt opening the scoring after just five minutes, but Robert Lewandowski equalised a mere four minutes later. A minute before halftime Bayern were in front courtesy of a Kingsley Coman goal.
Two minutes after the restart however, BVB were level with Erling Haaland firing in a right-foot effort. Dortmund were then denied a penalty by VAR after contact on Reus by Hernandez, and to rub salt into the wounds, Bayern were later awarded a VAR-assisted penalty after Hummels elbow made contact with the ball. Lewandowski dispatched the spot kick and Bayern went onto win 3-2.
Players to watch:
Despite the hugeness of the occasion, this could be a game for the youngsters to decide. Jude Bellingham just keeps getting better and has captained BVB this season already. His stamp on the game could prove vital if BVB are to win the midfield battle and get control away from Bayern.
Bayern’s very own young superstar Jamal Musiala will play a key role at the Signal Iduna Park much as he has done in all Bayern’s recent successes. Against both Bayer Leverkusen and Plzeň he was immense, and his drive, creativity, work-rate and shooting have all been first-rate. Dortmund know that he’s the danger, but stopping him is another thing.