An entertaining clash awaits as Bayern Munich take on Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena on Saturday evening.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side come into this game having suffered a shock loss against Hoffenheim. That marked the first defeat for die Roten in 18 prior meetings and marked the first loss for Bayern since losing 1-0 to Dortmund back in November. It also snapped a five game winning streak by the Bavarians. That being said, Ancelotti opted to rest quite a few players. Manuel Neuer sat out due to an injury, whilst Franck Ribery, Thiago Alcantra, Thomas Muller, and Philipp Lahm also did not take part.
Obviously the Italian tactician had this fixture in mind, as Dortmund are the only other side to have beaten Bayern this season. In addition, they face a tricky Champions League tie with Real Madrid next week, so squad rotation is key. Neither Muller nor Neuer are reported to be taking part in this upcoming game, either. Neuer underwent toe surgery on Friday, whilst Muller did not feature in the loss to Hoffenheim after reportedly suffering an injury during the 6-0 drubbing of Augsburg. Robert Lewandowski was apparently struggling with a hamstring complaint, but the Polish international should have shaken that scare off to feature.
Douglas Costa is set to make a return after missing out on quite a few games due to his own injuries. Meanwhile, Dortmund is still missing Marco Reus, as the German international simply can’t seem to stay fit for a whole season. That isn’t the only concern for Thomas Tuchel, however. In addition to the aforementioned Reus, Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze, Erik Durm are all definite absentees. And there are major doubts about the availability of Lukasz Piszczek, Shinji Kagawa, Julian Weigl, and Marc Bartra.
The highlight of this tie will arguably be Lewandowski vs. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Lewandowski, of course, is the defending holder of the coveted Torjägerkanone after becoming the first player in nearly four decades to score 30+ goals in a season. Aubameyang is hoping to become the first African international since Anthony Yeboah did so over two decades ago to win the top-scorer prize in Germany. So far, it’s Aubameyang who has a slight advantage over his former colleague, with 25 goals versus Lewandowski’s 24. Koln’s Anthony Modeste will hope that neither man can score, as he has 22 so far and is determined to keep his foot in the door for as long as possible.
Here’s how they compare: Aubameyang, has scored 11 goals in Dortmund’s last seven games in all competitions, including at least one in each game whilst Lewandowski has netted13 goals in Bayern’s last 10 games in all competitions, including a hat-trick during Bayern’s 6-0 demolition of Augsburg. Aubameyang was the deciding factor the last time the two teams met in November. Although a win for Dortmund won’t really change things in the title race, it will still be a confidence booster and be the first time in several seasons that they have done a double over their bitter rivals.
Who will come out on top in Saturday’s eagerly anticipated Klassiker clash?