Borussia Dortmund will hope to close the gap on Bayern Munich to just two points when they clash at Signal Iduna Park this Saturday.
Die Schwarzgelben will be coming into this game having won their most recent fixture,a 2-0 win over Darmstadt. This, coupled with Bayern’s shock 2-1 reversal against Mainz has now seen Saturday’s hosts move to within five of the league leaders. And, should they manage to win the second edition of Der Klassiker this weekend, Thomas Tuchel’s men will have reduced that even further to two points and suddenly could find the title race blown back open.
Indeed, it all seemed like things were proceeding as planned for die Roten to make it a fourth straight Bundesliga title. However, Pep Guardiola’s men saw their unbeaten home run abruptly ended by a high-flying Mainz side and will be under pressure to get things right this weekend as they hope to wrap up the league title as quickly as possible. With a tough Champions League clash against Juventus on the horizon – a game truly poised on a knife’s edge after a 2-2 draw in the first leg – the Spanish tactician will be eager for his team to get back to winning ways. And what better way to do so than against a team that now pose the biggest threat to their ambitions to make it a fourth straight Bundesliga title?
Bayern will still be without the services of Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez, and Holger Badstuber for this game, and the absence of these three has been keenly felt. And having seen his attack – with the likes of Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, and Robert Lewandowski largely thwarted by Mainz – Guardiola will be hoping that they will be able to play a bigger impact in their upcoming tough match this weekend. Die Roten are currently joint-tied with Borussia Dortmund for the strongest attack in the league – with 118 goals between them – but neither Muller, nor Lewandowski, who alone have been responsible for 40 of the team’s 59 goals were able to find the back of the net earlier this week.
Lewandowski, who is currently the Bundesliga’s top goal-scorer with 23 goals, netted a brace against his former side in the reverse fixture earlier this season as he hopes to again become the league’s top marksman at the end of this season. However the Polish star certainly faces some stiff competition from Gabonese international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who set a Bundesliga record by becoming the first man to score in eight consecutive games at the start of this campaign. With 22 goals – including one in Dortmund’s 5-1 defeat in the first Klassiker of this season – Aubameyang will be determined to fire his side to glory against their bitter rivals, and it indeed will be an interesting duel in the background featuring two of the most in-form strikers in Europe.
As for Tuchel, he will have a full-strength squad available for this mouth-watering clash, with only Sokratis missing out. Borussia Dortmund are currently unbeaten at home this season, with ten wins and one draw and will be hoping to maintain this – whilst, of course getting some revenge after their 5-1 humiliation earlier this campaign. Like Bayern, Dortmund also have a tough European fixture coming up soon, with die Schwarzgelben taking on high-flying Tottenham in an exciting round of 16 Europa League tie next week.
Hence, both teams will obviously be gunning for all three points in a game that truly could decide the outcome of a Bundesliga race that seemed pretty routine so far. Will Borussia Dortmund cut the gap to two points and throw the title race back open? Or will Bayern rebound from their shock loss to slam the door shut and effectively end any chances for Tuchel’s side to win their first Bundesliga title since the 2012 season?
Or we will see them cancel each other out to end in a stalemate? That may be the best result for general neutrals, but die Roten and die Schwarzgelben fans will obviously not want to see a draw. All in all, the winner – if there is one – could see their fortunes dramatically changed this season. Will it be Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich to have Lady Luck smiling down on them? You will have to tune in to find out.
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