For the first time in years, BVB are the favorites going into Der Klassiker. Bayern Munich, generally the big dog of the Bundesligam has faltered this year. In their place, Borussia Dortmund can’t seem to stop scoring. Bayern currently sit at 3rd on GD, a full 4 points behind BVB. If BVB win tomorrow, our 7 point lead would be the biggest we’ve had on Bayern since 2011-2012.
Bayern Munich have been in disarray this year. The club’s leadership has thrown fits over any provocation, and their new manager Nico Kovac faces a mutiny from the players. A win against the league leaders could right the ship for Kovac and crew, but a loss could probably lead to his sacking.
As for injuries, Dortmund are missing Marcel Schmelzer, with Abdou Diallo and Roman Burki being questionable. Bayern will be missing Thiago, Tolisso, Coman and Robben with James Rodriguez being questionable.
For Dortmund’s starting lineup, the most pressing question is whether Burki can start. Hitz has not played well for Dortmund so far, while Burki has made the case that he is an elite GK this year. It may be disastrous for us if Hitz is the starter. For our backline, I’d expect Piz, Raph, Akanji, and Zagadou. Peak Akanji will be much needed if we are to defend against a aggressive Bayern side.
In the midfield we will probably see Witsel paired with either Delaney or Weigl. Witsel has played an important role in Dortmund’s transformation this season. He will need to pick himself up after a rough week if we are to stand a chance against Bayern. Between Weigl and Delaney, I’d go with Weigl since he makes fewer mistakes than Delaney, and Bayern will try to bog Dortmund down and force errors. In front of Wistsel and his partner, I think Gotze will be given the start. He has proven he can play well in big games, and who doesn’t want to get a revenge goal against the club that scorned him(and possibly mismanaged his health)?
On the wings, Sancho and Reus are the only pair that make sense. Reus has been our best player this year, and Sancho has been at the very least our third-best player as well. Good games from them mean we score plenty of goals, and crush Bayern’s dreams. Lets hope so! Up front, it’s Paco, because c’mon, it’s Paco.
From Bayern you are obviously gonna see Neuer in net. Hummels, Alaba, Goretzka, Kimmich, Sule and Lewandolski seem to be the only players that our friends at BFW can agree are starting. Lewandolski should be our big worry this game. He shows up when he plays against us. Despite Bayerns struggles this year he is still a top tier striker.
Bayern will probably try to bog Dortmund down early and look for breaks off the press. If Dortmund look sloppy they may even start to take control of the game and play their own way. Favre said in his pre-game presser that Dortmund will try to press and attack Bayern to take the advantage. If everyone on Dortmund is playing up to snuff, a single break to Reus, Sancho and Paco feels like its almost a guaranteed goal. That is Dortmund’s best case scenario. Our worst case is Bayern are able to break up our press and feed Lewy into 1v1 situations with Zagadou. While Zagadou has been playing some stellar games, he’s also had one called and one uncalled pentaly foul in the last two weeks.
Whatever happens. it should be exciting/excruciating! What are your predictions for the game?