The biggest match in modern-day German football is set for one more installment as Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena. Bayern have won 4 of the last 5 encounters between the two sides and they dominate this fixture overall. The head-to-head record shows that Bayern Munich have been superior as the Bavarians have won 49 of the 103 Bundesliga games between the two sides while Die Schwarz-Gelben have more draws (29) than wins (25) against Bayern. It is also a game known for goals, the last 0-0 draw between these sides was as far back as 2016. There have also been no Bundesliga draws between these two sides in their last 10 games which means a winner is bound to emerge. The last match between the two sides ended in a 3-2 away win for Bayern Munich and so did the Super Cup encounter before that game.
Bayern need to avoid defeat to stay ahead of RB Leipzig. A loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and a draw with Arminia Bielefeld means they have Die Roten Bullen on their tail. Bayern’s defensive problems are well-detailed. For a team so strong, they manage to concede silly goals and find it hard to keep clean sheets. Don’t let this fool you, they are still a very strong outfit, even the best in the world. Die Rekordmeister have conceded 32 goals in the league. For emphasis, RB Leipzig, Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, and Union Berlin have let in less with Eintracht Frankfurt conceding the same 32. Hans-Dieter Flick’s men are worse off defensively than they were last season and they were not particularly great then either.
Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the world but there is only so much that he can do. The German captain has only 5 clean sheets from 23 Bundesliga outings. Bayern press very high and leave a lot of space behind their defense, it can be their undoing when they are not making silly mistakes.
Alphonso Davies speed was vital for recoveries and pressuring attackers but the Canadian wunderkind has been suffering from injuries. David Alaba and Jerome Boateng do not reinforce that defense but Flick believes that their positives in build-up play outweigh their sometimes non-defending. Lucas Hernandez has suffered his injury niggles and he is struggling to get a look in. The same goes for Niklas Sule. The right-back situation is comical especially earlier when Benjamin Pavard was not in form and Bouna Sarr was not Bayern quality. Expect Niklas Sule to start at right-back. However, when you look at their midfield and attack, you see why Bayern dominate their opponents despite their defensive frailties.
In midfield, Joshua Kimmich is the man. Aggressive in the tackle and calm in possession, he is the perfect number 6 for Bayern alongside international teammate Leon Goretzka. Kingsley Coman has been Bayern’s best winger despite the transfer of Leroy Sane. The French attacker has been in fine form this season. Thomas Muller is now Covid-19 free which spells problems for any opponent. Der Raumdeuter came on in the 64th minute against Koln and a minute later, he provided the assist for the third goal. 10 goals and 11 assists in the Bundesliga for him now.
The main problem for Dortmund will be stopping the world’s best player and their former employee Robert Lewandowski. He always looks like scoring and he wants to break Gerd Muller’s 71/72 Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a season. The Polish striker already has 28 and will want to add to his tally against Dortmund.
Lucien Favre’s departure did not look like it would make a difference for BVB especially when they kept up their uneven form under temporary coach Edin Terzic. However, things have turned a corner for the club in recent weeks. They took an impressive 3-2 win over Sevilla in Seville, won the Revierderby in convincing fashion, put away Arminia Bielefeld before a 1-0 over Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB Pokal. The bad news would come from the match against Die Fohlen. Jadon Sancho, Raphael Guerreiro, and Giovanni Reyna picked up knocks in the midweek tie and will not be available against the Bundesliga champions.
As if the game was not already difficult enough, Dortmund have to face Bayern without their creative cog in Jadon Sancho. The Englishman did not start the season well but has been in red-hot form since the turn of 2021. Scoring and creating plenty of goals. Left-back Raphael Guerreiro is one of the best in his position and will be missed too, as with the youngster Reyna. BVB will be hoping that Thorgan Hazard can put in the kind of shift he put in against Monchengladbach in the absence of Sancho. The inconsistent Julian Brandt will also need to give a very good performance if they are to stand a chance. Captain Marco Reus will be hoping to put a dent in the title aspirations of his old foes. To do that, they must create chances for their 6ft4 beast of a striker Erling Haaland.
The Norwegian striker has 17 goals so far and he will be Dortmund’s talisman heading into the tie. Emre Can and Mats Hummels do not form the most imperious pair but with Manuel Akanji out they will have to make do. Marwin Hitz behind them is always one moment away from spills and terrible decision-making but they will be hoping he pulls himself together. His 3 straight clean sheets should give him confidence. Speaking of confidence, Mahmoud Dahoud has been on terrific form and should start.
3-0 win for Bayern Munich