Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund

Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund

A tumultuous time at ‘FC Hollywood’ continues on Saturday, as Bayern Munich tackle Bundesliga title rivals Borussia Dortmund in a crucial edition of Der Klassiker.

Following a downturn which saw Julian Nagelsmann ruthlessly sacked and replaced by ex-Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, the champions trail their visitors by one point in the table; ahead of their trip to Allianz Arena, BVB sit top and have won nine of their last 10 league games.

Having let their vice-like grip on the Bundesliga summit slip just before international football intervened, Bayern Munich took drastic action to prevent their season taking the wrong path: firing their 35-year-old head coach and hiring a Champions League winner to take his place.

Following a 2-1 reverse to Bayer Leverkusen last time out, the Rekordmeister have already dropped more points in 10 matches this year than in 15 played before the winter break. When allied to off-field concerns about Nagelsmann, such a stumble saw Bayern’s hierarchy act to draw the curtain on his brief reign in Bavaria.

With perfect timing, Tuchel steps into the hotseat at Allianz Arena, as his new side prepare to meet his old one in Der Klassiker with the destiny of the title still to be decided.

An ongoing tally of 10 straight championship wins mean that Bayern remain favourites to prevail in the end, but losing on Saturday would deal a heavy blow to hopes of wrapping up number 11 in May.

Despite some setbacks of late, Die Roten can still boast a league-high 72 goals this season, and they have only failed to score once through 37 competitive games of their 2022-23 campaign.

Alongside third-placed upstarts Union Berlin, Bayern are also one of just two teams still unbeaten on home soil, and they are Germany’s last remaining representatives in the Champions League – a competition Tuchel knows very well.

The former BVB boss can help Bayern back to the top of the table by marking his dugout debut with victory in a classic ‘six-pointer’ this week, and history is certainly on the hosts’ side: they have not lost any of eight previous contests when they and Dortmund have sat first and second, in addition to winning each of the clubs’ last eight meetings in Munich.

Despite their dire recent record against Bayern, Dortmund managed to come from two goals down to draw the first Klassiker of the season back in October, when Anthony Modeste’s stoppage-time equaliser snatched a point from the jaws of defeat.

At that time, Die Schwarzgelben were struggling for consistency and more concerned with achieving a top-four finish than pushing for a first title in 11 years, and they actually languished as low as sixth prior to the World Cup.

Fast forward to the end of March, and BVB ended a matchday top of the pile for the first time since 2019 by battering Koln 6-1, in a game which saw captain Marco Reus surpass Michael Zorc as the club’s all-time Bundesliga top scorer.

Thus extending their unbeaten streak in the league to its 10th match – a run featuring nine wins and a draw in the Revierderby – Edin Terzic’s men have also racked up a division-high 30 goals in 2023 and posted 10 more points than Saturday’s hosts over that period.

While the Meisterschale glints in the distance, following 10 years of undiluted Bayern dominance, Dortmund still have it all to do if they are to retain first place for nine more rounds, and their recent Champions League exit serves as a reminder of their frailties on the grandest stage.

Also set to face Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals next week, a double dose of silverware could yet end their drought, but perhaps the toughest test of all awaits this weekend.

Bayern Munich Bundesliga form:

Bayern Munich form (all competitions):

Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form:

Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions):

We say: Bayern Munich 3-2 Borussia Dortmund
High-stakes encounters of this kind often peter out into a safety-first stalemate, but both of these teams like to go for the throat and there could be a few goals on the cards as a result.

Boasting the big-time mindset that comes with the territory in Munich, it is Bayern who are best placed to swing the title race in their favour – but not before several thrills and spills.

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