This match is always one that gets blown out of proportion a little bit, with the annoying and unfit title "Der Klassiker" making it's rounds before the match. However this time, the game does have meaningful implications on a possible title race. A Dortmund win, and they're only two points behind Bayern. A Bayern win and they will be eight points ahead, killing off nearly all hopes of a Dortmund title challenge. This is a true six pointer.
It's hard not to hype this one up, considering the huge affect it will have on Dortmund's title challenge, but it gets annoying and repetitive after awhile. Fans should just enjoy the terrific atmosphere and football that will be on display at the Westfalenstadion.
Unlike the reverse fixture in the Hinrunde, this is likely going to be a very tight affair. Due to injuries, Bayern will be playing a rather makeshift back-line by their standards, even though it will contain the likes of David Alaba, Medhi Benatia, and Philipp Lahm. Since the start of 2016, Bayern have appeared much more human, not delivering convincing results when they win, and actually dropping points on a couple of occasions. Bayern have been very susceptible on the counter-attack, which is where Mainz got both of their goals from on Wednesday. Dortmund may have caught Bayern at a good time, with key defenders out injured, but the team remains one of the strongest in the world.
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Whether Pep Guardiola's move to Manchester City after the end of the season has effected the Bayern team is up for debate, it's hard to argue that they've been as good as they were in the Hinrunde. Dortmund, on the other hand, haven't lost since the end of 2015, and have failed to win only once since the start of the new year. Thomas Tuchel has given more players some chances like Moritz Leitner, Neven Subotic, and Adrian Ramos, but also gained two good players back from injury in Nuri Sahin and Erik Durm. Each week the line-up fields some type of rotation, and the players hardly seem to be missing a beat.
However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has failed to carry over his goalscoring from 2015. He remains one goal behind Bayern's Robert Lewandowski in the goalscoring charts, despite his poor Ruckrunde form. There's no way Tuchel would bench Aubameyang in a game of this magnitude, but his struggles of late could be costly for Dortmund in this one.
Dortmund and Bayern both rested some key players before this fixture, as Bayern left Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller out of the line-up, while Dortmund sat out Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcel Schmelzer, Lukasz Piszczek, Sven Bender, and many more.
One major key for Dortmund in this game will be to contain the raumdeuter Thomas Muller. He destroyed Dortmund in the 5-1 win in the Hinrunde, and can play wherever in attack that would cause the most problems for the Dortmund defense. Bayern are a much better team with Muller and Lewandowski playing together, and the two will surely give Dortmund's improved defense their biggest task of the year so far.
A lot rides on this game for Borussia Dortmund, and it'll be fascinating to see what Thomas Tuchel has up his sleeve this time around. Pep Guardiola's Bayern could be unmotivated and a little down, but still have the quality to win this game and the league handily. Whether you like all the hype around this game or not, it's still the biggest game of the Bundesliga season.