Der Klassiker translated to ‘The Classic’ is played between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and for all intents and purposes, is regarded as the biggest fixture in German football.
The importance of the first Der Klassiker of the season will be bigger given that Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are separated by just one point at the top of the table. The two teams have shared the Bundesliga between them since 2009 with Bayern winning 10 titles. Save their couple of wins under the legendary Jurgen Klopp between 2010 and 2012, Borussia Dortmund have largely played catch-up to their more accomplished rivals.
This time, however, there could be a major twist to the plot. For all their resources and quality, Bayern Munich haven’t exactly sauntered their way to victory in the last four games. Borussia Dortmund would be sensing chinks in the armour and the return of Erling Haaland might help them exploit those flaws. Dortmund’s approach in Der Klassiker over the last few years has been topsy-turvy and they’re equally capable of making blunders.
The declining COVID-19 situation in Germany might deprive Borussia Dortmund of passionate support from their loyal fans. The club cancelled ticket sales for the game and Bayern Munich will also have to play their next few matches behind closed doors.
What to expect when the two biggest teams in Germany take on each other in a match that could potentially define the title race? Let’s discuss below:
BORUSSIA DORTMUND IN THE BUNDESLIGA SO FAR THIS SEASON
With 10 wins and three losses from their 13 matches this season, Borussia Dortmund are second in the Bundesliga. The hosts have struggled in the Champions League but that has been the general theme under manager Marco Rose. Borussia Dortmund also have a reputation of losing the plot during the final stages of the season.
As such, a victory over Bayern here will help them take the lead in the domestic league. The pressure will be on the Bavarian side and manager Marco Rose has stressed that his side needs to ‘seize the opportunity’ in order to leapfrog Bayern in the table.
Dortmund have won four of their last five Bundesliga fixtures. Their third league defeat of the season arrived against RB Leipzig early in November. Die Schwarzgelben have managed just one clean sheet in Bundesliga this season and Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski will be licking his lips at the thought of it.
PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST BAYERN MUNICH
Erling Haaland couldn’t have returned at a better moment for Borussia Dortmund. The 24-year-old gun striker came off the bench in the previous match against Wolfsburg after a seven-game absence due to injury. Haaland scored in that game to take his tally to 50 Bundesliga goals in as many appearances and all eyes will be on him this Saturday.
Raphael Guerreiro has also returned to training after missing the last two matches, but teen sensation Jude Bellingham is a doubt for this game. US international Gio Reyna won’t be fit in time for this clash and there are question marks surrounding Thorgan Hazard’s participation as well.
Probable Playing XI (4-3-3): Gregor Kobel – Thomas Meunier, Manuel Akanji, Mats Hummels, Raphael Guerreiro – Emre Can, Axel Witsel, Mohammed Dahoud – Julian Brandt, Erling Haaland, Marco Reus (c)
BAYERN MUNCIH IN THE BUNDESLIGA SO FAR THIS SEASON
As mentioned before, Bayern Munich have struggled in the Bundesliga in the last few matches. Their last two games in the domestic league ended in a shock 2-1 loss to 16th placed Augsburg and a hard-fought 1-0 victory over 17th placed Aminia. The record Bundesliga champions were expected to steamroll past their opponents in both those matches.
With that being said, the Bavarian club has been clear of the rest of the field in Germany. They are on top of the table with 10 wins, one draw and two losses and have a lone point advantage over Borussia Dortmund.
The Bayern attack, led by star striker Robert Lewandowski has been quite prolific. They have the most goals in Germany so far this season (42) and have scored a goal in each of their last 60 league games!
PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Robert Lewandowski’s recent Ballon d’Or snub has sparked a series of controversies. Several Bayern players and experts of the game have called it injustice and Thomas Muller mentioned that the entire team is motivated to reach even greater heights this season.
This could mean bad news to Borussia Dortmund as well as Barcelona in the Champions League. Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann will have to make do with the loss of a few key players, however.
Bayern will miss Joshua Kimmich after the German international contracted Coronavirus. Meanwhile, Marcel Sabitzer is battling a calf injury while Leon Goretzka’s return to training was interrupted following a hip problem. In their absence, Nagelsmann might lean towards Jamal Musiala and Corentin Tolisso in midfield.
All eyes will be on the battle between Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland in front of goal.Probable Playing XI (4-3-3): Manuel Neuer (c) – Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez, Alphonso Davies – Corentin Tolisso, Jamal Musiala – Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller, Leroy Sane – Robert Lewandowski
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES