Saturday sees a dress rehearsal for the upcoming UEFA Champions League final as Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
The fixture is already the marquee clash of German football, but with this season’s title already sealed – Bayern lead the second-placed Dortmund by 20 points – its significance appeared to dwindle in recent weeks.
However, stunning performances from both sides in their UEFA Champions League semi-finals have assured that the eyes of the world will be focused on this fixture, which serves as a preview to the decider of European football’s premier club competition, to be staged at Wembley on May 25.
Whether both sides will be selecting first-choice teams is unclear, with Dortmund manager Juergen Klopp and Bayern counterpart Jupp Heynckes sure to keep their cards close to their chest.
A big crowd is a guarantee at the Westfalenstadion though, and goals are likely, with the two sides having played just one goalless draw since 1998.
Bayern’s form this season has been nothing short of exceptional, with the Bavarian side having lost just one of their last 40 matches in all competitions.
Included in that run are 4-0 and 3-0 wins over Barcelona in their two-legged Champions League semi-final and triumphs over Dortmund, Juventus, Arsenal and Lille.
While they have been prolific going forward – Bayern have scored 90 goals in 31 matches, including 21 in their last five – the club’s defence has also been superb.
Bayern have conceded just 14 league goals this term, giving them the best defence by a huge margin.
Dortmund have also been in excellent form, although comparatively to Bayern, they have dropped off the pace this season, failing in their bid to win a hat-trick of league titles.
They saw a nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions come to a halt on Tuesday, but despite losing 2-0 at Real Madrid, they progressed from their Champions League semi-final 4-3 on aggregate.
They have the league’s top-scorer – Polish forward Robert Lewandowski with 23 – and will be missing only Mario Goetze (hamstring) from their first-choice side.
Goetze, who will join Bayern in the summer, is also in doubt for the Champions League final.
Bayern will be without midfielder Toni Kroos (groin) and defender Holger Badstuber (knee) while defender Dante, who missed Wednesday’s clash with Barcelona due to being unwell, should come back into contention.