Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena in a huge, Bundesliga title race defining clash on Saturday.
This week has been a chaotic one thus far for Bayern Munich. Die Roten progressed to the semifinals of the DFB Pokal by clinching an entertaining 5-4 win over Heidenheim at the Allianz Arena Wednesday. Their second home game of this week is a blockbuster clash against Borussia Dortmund. Whichever team tastes victory in Der Klassiker on Saturday will have a big advantage to win the Bundesliga title.
Bayern Munich suffered a big setback in their bid of retaining the league title last weekend when they were held for a 1-1 draw at Freiburg. As a consequence of this result, the Bavarians slipped to second place and handed Dortmund a two-point advantage. Niko Kovac was furious with his team’s performance on Wednesday, and the Croatian will be hoping Bayern deliver a much improved performance, especially in the defense, on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, have picked up good form after a miserable February and March. Lucien Favre’s men were ruthless in the first half of the season, winning games and playing an expansive style of football. Dortmund have shown immense character in their last three league games and will be eager to stengthen their hold on the Bundesliga’s top spot by winning against Bayern on Saturday.
Bayern will be without a few players for their important clash against Borussia Dortmund. Arjen Robben is desperate to play again for Bayern this season, but the Dutchman is not yet completely fit. The veteran winger trained lightly with the squad this week, but that will not be enough to feature against Dortmund. Alphonso Davies will also miss the game on Saturday as he continues to recover from the injury he suffered against Mainz last month.
David Alaba is likely to be fit for Der Klassiker after returning early from the last international break due to a minor injury. Kovac is not yet sure on Manuel Neuer’s availability, so a late fitness test is likely to determine his participation in this game. James Rodriguez is also a doubt for this game as he struggled with an adductor problem against Heidenheim. Corentin Tolisso is in the final stretch of his recovery process, and he is likely to return to action next weekend.
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Niko Kovac will be hoping that his key players are fit enough to start this game as he will need his best starting lineup to beat Dortmund. Sven Ulreich will likely start on Saturday as Neuer is yet to completely recover from his calf problem. Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule will feature in the center of defense, while David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich will be the full-backs for Bayern this weekend.
The midfield battle will be key on Saturday, so expect Kovac to play his in-form midfielders in this game. Thiago Alcantara has been a crucial figure for Kovac in the center of the park, and the Spaniard will start in the number eight role against Dortmund. Javi Martinez will provide some security to Bayern’s defense in the holding midfield role while Leon Goretzka will play further up the pitch in the number ten role.
Kingsley Coman is completely fit now so he is the favorite to play on the left flank against Dortmund this weekend. Serge Gnabry has enjoyed a very good debut campaign for Bayern in terms of his productivity in the final third. The German winger will surely start on the right side of the attack at the Allianz Arena tomorrow. Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for the defending champions against his former club.
Borussia Dortmund play a more expansive style of football under Lucien Favre, but they still remain at their ruthless best while hurting teams on the counter. The visitors will play to their strengths on Saturday and allow Bayern to have the majority of possession. Favre has all the right players in attack to exploit the space left behind Bayern’s defense.
Marco Reus is finally playing his best football after struggling with numerous injuries in the past few seasons. The German international has been prolific in front of goal despite playing in the number ten role throughout this season. Jadon Sancho is the most dangerous and decisive wide player for Dortmund. The English teenager has 13 assists to his name in the league, the most of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.
Fortunately for Bayern, their visitors will be without a few key players of their own tomorrow. Prolific striker Paco Alcacer and in-form winger Raphael Guerreiro neither one made the trip to Munich. The Black and Yellow’s offensive still remains a threat, however.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Bayern’s defensive woes were on full display in the midweek clash against Heidenheim, but the Bavarians need to win this game to stay in the title race. It will be an entertaining game at the Allianz Arena, and I expect Bayern to narrowly win and put themselves on the top of the Bundesliga table.