Der Klassiker. Germany’s premier football match that sees its fair share of drama, flared tempers, and goals. As Borussia Dortmund fans, however, this usually means goals scored by players wearing red. Dortmund’s yearly matches against Bayern present the opportunity to upset the status quo and pull the rug out from under the Bavarians. You have to look back to 2018 for Die Schwarzgelben’s last victory where Marco Reus scored a brace and Paco Alcacer finished off a wonderful counterattack to finish the game 3-2. Since then? Eight losses and one draw - last season’s 95th-minute equalizer. Dortmund have seen a whopping negative -17 goal difference. This season, however, feels different.
Last season’s title disappointment provides not just a chip on the team’s shoulder, but proof that they deserve to be in the title race. Additionally, the two teams have rarely been closer to start off the season; two points separate the sides and both are undefeated in the Bundesliga. Dortmund will host Bayern with a near-fully fit lineup as Emre Can is the only questionable absence among key players. Terzic will have all his tools at his disposal to try to get one over Thomas Tuchel. Dortmund’s performance in recent weeks also illustrates how the side have vastly improved after a rocky start to the season. Regardless, every single player will have to be at the top of their game if Dortmund wants to prevail. Gregor Kobel and his backline will be tasked with keeping a clean sheet against a side that has scored 34 goals in nine Bundesliga games. On the other end of the field, Bayern have conceded a joint-lowest seven goals. Tomorrow’s match presents the opportunity for Dortmund players to become heroes, especially amongst those who have struggled in recent weeks, but it will be up to them to step up.
Bayern Munich, on the other hand, have been bitten by the injury bug in recent weeks. Bayern’s midweek DFB-Pokal fixture saw them play the role of Goliath as Saarbrucken shocked the world with a 96th-minute winner to knock the Bavarians out. That match saw a rotated Bayern squad battle attrition and, unfortunately, Matthias De Ligt came off injured to add to an already packed physio table. Still, Dortmund will be facing a vastly different squad than Saarbruken did as Harry Kane and other starters are set to return to the lineup. While the margins between these two teams are tighter than ever before, Bayern are still the favorites and have more than enough firepower to put Dortmund’s optimism to bed. Before that happens, however, let’s enjoy this clip one more time.
THIS IS WHAT THE DFB POKAL IS ALL ABOUT— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 1, 2023
SAARBRÜCKEN SCORES IN THE LAST MINUTE AGAINST BAYERN MUNICH! pic.twitter.com/J22mNAYdIu
Oh, and this one for good measure.
Player to Watch: Harry Kane
Could there be any other option than ‘arry Kane? England’s captain, doing his best impression of Jude Bellingham, moved to Germany during the offseason and has become a more-than-worthy successor to Robert Lewandowski. Kane has 12 goals and five assists in nine Bundesliga matches this season. On top of his incredible goal tally, Kane is vital to Bayern Munich’s buildup play and will be looking to play in Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman for added goal threat. I expect to see Dortmund’s backline put to the test against Kane but even at their best it will be difficult to stop him. Oh, did I mention he sat out against Saarbrucken and is fully rested for tomorrow's game?
Borussia Dortmund: 4-3-3
This is my predicted lineup for tomorrow’s match. I am expecting to see a more defensive approach than Terzic rolled out against Hoffenheim in the Pokal match. Even then, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Sabitzer come into the starting lineup. Up front, I am expecting a return for Fullkrug alongside Malen and Brandt. We will definitely see Salih Ozcan in midfield and I expect Felix Nmecha to partner up with him.
In defense, my only changes are Ryerson back replacing Wolf for a more defensive option and Mats Hummels returning to the starting lineup to make his record-tying 28th Der Klassiker appearance. Look for parallels between how Dortmund beat Newcastle and how they will attempt to play tomorrow.
Bayern Munich: 4-3-3
Felt it was only right to illustrate Bayern’s lineup for a match as big as this. As mentioned. the Bavarians are riddled with injuries. Up front, Harry Kane, Leroy Sane, and Kingsley Coman will pose both a technically gifted and physical threat for Borussia Dortmund. Look for the two wingers to stretch Dortmund’s backline and challenge the fullbacks. Accordingly, expect Dortmund’s wide players to play more conservatively to combat this threat.
Bayern’s midfield is the big question mark. Joshua Kimmich got sent off in the fourth minute against Darmstadt (who proceeded to lose 8-0) and will miss tomorrow's game. Leon Goretzka, who has suffered from poor form this season, will be returning back from an injury and might be rushed onto the pitch. I opted for a more attacking threat with Thomas Muller and Jamal Musiala to play in front of Konrad Laimer. In defense, an injury to Mathias de Ligt should see Dayot Upamecano as the only replacement.
This is so difficult to tell. On one hand, I want to see Dortmund win this match in a thrilling contest. On the other hand, the team has a fondness for shooting themselves in the foot at this stage and conceding four goals. I have gone with the former for today’s prediction because I helps me sleep at night. Goals from Fullkrug, Malen, and Brandt cancel out a Harry Kane brace.
Borussia Dortmund 3 -2 Bayern Munich
Let me know your thoughts about tomorrow's match!