It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
No, I don’t mean Christmas. I mean the time when Germany’s two footballing giants are inevitably pitted against each other in the DFB Pokal, in a match that is 80% likely to decide who lifts the cup in May.
It’s been a strange year for both clubs. We all know the struggles that Dortmund have gone through, but Bayern also went through something similar earlier in the year. While Dortmund were shredding bottom feeder clubs under Peter Bosz, Bayern struggled under Carlo Ancelotti to start the season, losing to Hoffenheim and drawing against Hertha and Wolfsburg, ceding the lead in the title chase to Dortmund. Instead of doing something ridiculous like, I don’t know, waiting for two entire months without a victory before sacking Ancelotti, Bayern fired him immediately and replaced him with Bayern legend Jupp Heynckes, who restored Bayern’s good form. Luckily for the Bavarians, Dortmund proceeded to completely fall off a cliff, and now the title chase is as good as over.
There’s a chance, though, that Dortmund can get some vindication out of what has been a disastrous hinründe. With new manager and step-dad Peter Stöger at the helm, Dortmund have somewhat righted the ship, and have won their last two matches. If they can get a win at the Allianz Arena, not only will Dortmund clear the way for a march to the DFB Cup Final, but let’s be honest: it will feel awesome. As Dortmund fans we have had pretty much nothing to cheer about for months, so a victory against Bayern will finally give us something to celebrate.
Keys to the Game
- Shinji Magic: Kagawa was remarkable against Hoffenheim. In order to past Bayern’s robust midfield and back line, Dortmund will need some of the technical ability that he displayed against Hoffenheim. We’ll also need this incredible passion he displayed after setting up Christian Pulisic’s winner over the weekend:
Jaaaaaaaaaaa #sk23 #bvb #dortmund #香川真司 pic.twitter.com/xolwSVA4fY— SHINJI KAGAWA / 香川真司 (@S_Kagawa0317) December 17, 2017
- Julian Weigl vs Arturo Vidal: While Weigl has experienced an incredible return to form under Peter Stöger, he will have to deal with one man wrecking-ball Arturo Vidal in midfield. Dortmund’s success with the ball will be dependent on how Julian can navigate Bayern’s high press.
- Yarmolenko doing literally anything: I don’t expect you to create much, but at the very minimum, if you’re one-on-one with Sven Ulreich, please don’t blow it.
- Peter Stöger’s legware of choice: Apparently this is becoming a meme, and I am 100% okay with that. If Stöger strolls out onto the Allianz Arena pitch in Jeans, we might as well go home and get started on the Vin Chaud before it gets cold, because it’ll be a long night.
Going along with the Christmas motif of saviors arriving for our salvation, Peter Stöger emerges from the tunnel wearing jet black athletic pants, and leads Dortmund to a hard-fought 3-2 victory in which Roman Bürki puts in an amazing performance. We BVB fans then all go home to eat, drink, and be merry.