Best odds: 15/4
Bayern Munich welcome Borussia Dortmund to the Allianz Arena on Saturday, in a game that could go a long was in answering the question of this season’s Bundesliga champion.
Having played 27 games apiece, the two title contenders are pretty much neck and neck at the moment. Only two points separate them as Dortmund lead with seven matches to go.
Borussia started the season strongly and led for most of the way, but recent stumbles saw the Bavaians overtake them before giving the lead back last weekend with a disappointing 1-1 draw away to Freiburg.
It’s certainly been a season of ups and downs for the reigning champions. Their start was extremely worrying. Spats were being reported between the players and head coach Niko Kovač, and many believed the Croat would be out the door very quickly.
However, they pulled together soon and stuck to the task, catching up with Dortmund in the table. They have been knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool who defeated them in Munich, and they are reportedly preparing to enter the summer transfer marked in a big way.
Despite failing to beat Freiburg, that draw game in the wake of four consecutive wins, so their form perhaps shouldn’t be doubted.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer missed the Freibrug trip as well as the exciting 5-4 triumph on penalties over Heidenheim in the DFB-Pokal, but he should be back between the posts on Saturday.
Midfielder James Rodriguez, on loan from Real Madrid, is expected to recover from a groin problem in time. Alphonso Davies and Arjen Robben have been ruled out, along with Corentin Tolisso who may yet play again this season following an ACL injury.
Dortmund haven’t had a season like this since Jurgen Klopp left them back in 2014, having won consecutive Bundesliga titles (2011, 2012) and led them to the Champions League final the following year – where they were stopped by an incredible Bayern team run by Jupp Heynckess.
They have worked up a good mix of youth and experience, and Lucien Favre has really justified the faith put in him. Signing Jadon Sancho, whatever may happen with the winger in the future, was a shrewd piece of business, as well as loaning Barcelona’s Paco Alcacer, later to sign on a permanent basis.
They’ve managed to usurp the undisputed rule of Bayern which lased for quite a while, and they are certain to give their best shot to win the title for the first time since 2012.
Captain Marco Reus is certain to go straight back into the starting XI despite becoming a father on the day of Dortmund’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg, but fullback Achraf Hakimi is out for the season with a metatarsal injury. That means Raphael Guereiro is likely to drop back into his old role on the left defensive flank.
Facts to Consider
- This is the 100th Der Klassiker in the Bundesliga.
- No team has been ahead of Bayern after 27 rounds since 2012 – when Dortmund went on to win their last title to date.
- Dortmund have beaten Bayern in the last four meetings which they entered ahead of their rivals in the table.
- Robert Lewandowski has scored 13 Klassiker goals – 12 for Bayern and one for Dortmund. One more and he will equal the record held by the legendary Gerd Muller.
- Bayern have already conceded as many goals this season as in the entire last one – 28.
- Bayern have won their past seven home games, the last two by 6-0.
To say that this should be an interesting game that could go either way would be a huge understatement. This is a game between two top-class teams, both known for their attacking flair, and if a guess has to be made, it promises goals.
Best odds: 15/4
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