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Borussia Dortmund vs FC Bayern München: Key Matchups

Der Klassiker

Bayern Muenchen v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Bundesliga Photo by Marc Mueller/Bongarts/Getty Images

The biggest game the Bundesliga has in store is upon us when Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Munich face off on Saturday. While Tuchels' team is looking to get back into the title race, Bayern have an early chance to basically eliminate their toughest rivals from the race to the Meisterschale.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Defend the wings

Bayern Munich has a lot of strong central midfielders and having Lewandowski upfront is just unfair but they need their wingers to create chances for them. "Robbery" have been one of the best winger duos in Europe for years now and are a big part of why the Bavarians have been so successful in the past years.

Arjen Robben will possibly miss the game but with Thomas Müller they have a world-class "replacement". It will be important to contain their wingers as much as possible.

KEY TO THE GAME: Put on the pressure

Ancelottis' Bayern aren't quite the same as Pep's Bayern. Sure they're still leading the Bundesliga and are still undefeated in league-play but they have flaws. Köln, Frankfurt and Hoffenheim have been able to steal points from them and they all did it using similar tactics. All three of those teams tried to press high against Bayern and succeeded. Trying that tactic against last years FCB-edition would've earned you a well earned spanking but under Ancelotti they seem to have way more problems evading the press.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Franck Ribéry

Before the season started many people thought the Frenchman was on the decline and rightfully so. Last years campaign was one of his worst in a Bayern jersey. He suffered plenty of injuries, was often times benched for the fast rising Douglas Costa and was heavily criticized for his temper tantrums. Even though Ribéry has an amazing ability to dodge red cards, especially against the black and yellows.

However this season he seems to be experiencing a second youth. Douglas Costa finds himself mostly on the bench because Ribery has been in an amazing shape to start the season. He scored twice and amassed 8 assists in 9 games across all competitions to start the season until some muscular problems stopped him. Before his injury those statistics put him in second place in Europe for efficiency (a goal/assist every 60 minutes), only behind Lionel Messi. Now he's back and it isn't quite sure if he can regain his form immediately and with Arjen Robben likely missing the game the Bavarians will look to Ribéry to make the difference.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

  • Formation: 4-1-4-1
  • Goaltender: Manuel Neuer
  • Defenders: David Alaba, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm
  • Midfielders: Xabi Alonso - Franck Ribéry, Thiago Alcantara, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller
  • Forward: Robert Lewandowski

PREDICTION: 3-2 Dortmund

A win and Dortmund are right back in the title chase and this absolutely has to be the goal of this game. Tuchel needs a statement win against our bitter rivals after three losses and one draw against them and this will be where he gets it.