Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 7/5
The DFB Pokal semifinals will feature an authentic clash of giants, as Bayern Munich will host Borussia Dortmund for a berth in the tournament final. These two have been the best teams in Germany during the last five years, and we could be in line for an instant classic at Allianz Arena this Wednesday.
Even though they failed to reach the UEFA Champions League semifinals against Real Madrid, Bayern are enjoying another fine season. Carlo Ancelotti’s men once again are in absolute control of their fate at the domestic level. And honestly, it would be a massive shocker if they do not win the Bundesliga title. They have an eight-point advantage over RB Leipzig with 12 to play, so they can easily play with a strong side in this Cup tie, and rest a few players during the weekend.
As expected, Bayern have cruised in the DFB Pokal with four wins in equal number of games. They defeated Schalke 04 in the quarterfinals by a 3-0 score, and prior to that they had topped Wolfsburg (1-0), Augsburg (3-1), and Carl Zeiss Jena (5-0). Their record of 12 goals scored and just one conceded clearly speaks for itself.
Manuel Neuer will miss the remainder of the season, so Sven Ulreich will stand between the posts.
Jerome Boateng and David Alaba are doubtful, while Javi Martinez is back in training after a thigh injury.
If Bayern have absolute control of their Bundesliga fate, Dortmund are the opposite. Even though they sit third in the standings and could potentially finish in second place, Hoffenheim are breathing on their neck. And finishing third or fourth is the difference between an automatic Champions League berth, or a playoff tie before the group stage. Due to this, Thomas Tuchel needs to plan this game accordingly. A semifinal against their rivals is important, but their main focus should be to secure the third spot in the Bundesliga. With that in mind, Tuchel might rotate the side a bit, as it has been the trend all season long.
Their DFB Pokal has been impressive, and they are coming off an easy 3-0 win over underdogs Sportfreunde Lotte in the quarterfinals. They also defeated both Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin via penalties after 1-1 draws, and started their campaign with a 3-0 convincing win over Eintracht Trier. They have not been as impressive as Bayern, but they have proven they can get the job done.
Marc Bartra, Mario Götze and Jacob Larsen are out for the remainder of the season. Andre Schurrle is yet to recover from an Achilles injury, but should return in the coming weeks.
Sebastian Rode is doubtful and will likely undergo a late-fitness test to determine his availability. Sokratis and Nuri Sahin are doubtful as well, and their presence in this game is uncertain.
Key Factors to Consider
- Bayern Munich are undefeated in their last 27 DFB Pokal matches
- Die Roten have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last eight DFB Pokal matches
- Borussia Dortmund are riding a 10-game undefeated streak in the DFB Pokal
- Robert Lewandowski is the top scorer in the tournament with five goals in three games
- Both sides won 3-0 in the previous round; Bayern defeated Schalke 04 and Dortmund topped Sportfreunde Lotte
- Bayern Munich have 4W 1D 1L against Dortmund in the last six meetings between both clubs
Bayern Munich have a decent advantage in the Bundesliga standings, and neither side remains in European competition so not a lot of rotation is expected. Both sides would be close to full strength, but Bayern have the superior team even considering the absence of Neuer between the posts. It will be a very tight game, but Bayern should advance to the next round.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 7/5
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