Generally billed as title-race defining clashes between Germany’s two preeminent sides, games between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have fallen short of expectations in recent years.
The recent record between the two is as one-sided as the clubs’ respective trophy hauls, Bayern Munich winning 11 of the last 17 league meetings between the two since Dortmund last won the Bundesliga in 2012.
Games in Munich have been particularly one-sided with the home side winning the last six by score lines of 4-0, 5-0, 6-0, 4-1, 5-1 and 2-1 en route to racking up eight consecutive Bundesliga titles. The cynic might say that the “Der Klassiker” moniker is being shown up for baseless marketing slogan it is.
On Saturday evening however, there’s no danger of Bayern knocking Dortmund out of the title race; they’re already out of it, 13 points adrift and chasing a very different aim: top four and Champions League qualification.
Bayern Munich and the title race
And yet it’s still a must-win for Bayern, who could be second by kick-off should this season’s challengers RB Leipzig win away at Freiburg earlier in the afternoon.
In fact, if it weren’t for the almost existential financial importance of Champions League qualification for their own club, many Borussia Dortmund supporters might begrudgingly take a defeat if it means that Bayern prevent RB from winning the league.
That, at least, is what a survey by the “Bundesliga Barometer” commissioned for magazine Sportbild found this week, when it revealed that 52.3% of fans of the league’s other 16 clubs would prefer to see a ninth consecutive title for Bayern than a maiden championship for the unpopular Red Bull franchise.
Not that Dortmund will necessarily have any say in the matter. Thomas Müller is set to return to the Bayern starting XI following his coronavirus infection, while Leroy Sane is also hitting the sort of form that saw Bayern splash out €45 million for him in the summer, finding the net against Arminia Bielefeld, Eintracht Frankfurt and Lazio recently.
And former top scorer turned arch-nemesis Robert Lewandowski is as ominous as ever. The Pole has already scored 28 goals in 22 Bundesliga this season, and 34 in 32 in all competitions. In each of Bayern’s last five home games against Dortmund, he’s scored at least twice. Continue reading