Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich

Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich on Saturday in Der Klassiker, in what could prove to a pivotal meeting in the race to win the 2020-21 Bundesliga title.

The two sides are level on 15 points at the top of the table, with Bayern only ahead of their rivals on goal difference.

That defensive record will certainly be put to the maximum test against Bayern, however, as was shown in BVB's 3-2 defeat to the reigning European and Bundesliga champions in the German Super Cup at the end of September.

Erling Braut Haaland was rested in the win at Arminia due to a tight hamstring, with Mats Hummels the unlikely hero with a brace. The central defender, who had a three year stint with Bayern, played a lovely lofted pass with the outside of the foot for Jadon Sancho in the first half, but the England winger was denied after heading straight at Stefan Ortega.

Manuel Akanji later missed from only a few yards before Hummels broke the deadlock in the second half after Sancho's corner was allowed to run all the way across the box. Hummels doubled his side's lead to secure the three points with a powerful header from a Marco Reus cross before worryingly clutching his hamstring and being substituted.

There was no sign of the Germany international in the squad which travelled to Club Brugge in the Champions League in midweek, but Haaland did at least return to score twice in a comfortable 3-0 win. Lucien Favre will be desperately hoping his leader at the back returns to help keep the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller at bay.

After trouncing Arminia, Atletico Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt after the international break, Bayern have been made to work harder for their victories in the last 10 days or so.

Indeed, they were made to sweat at FC Koln last weekend, with Hansi Flick's decision to rest Lewandowski almost backfiring in a relatively nervy 2-1 win at the struggling hosts. Muller scored his first Bundesliga penalty since December 2015 before Serge Gnabry was allowed too much freedom to cut inside from the right flank and place the ball into the far corner with his left foot to double Bayern's lead heading into the break, but the Bavarians noticeably took their foot off the gas in the second half and were almost punished.

Ismail Jakobs fired into the side netting after one of several Koln counter attacks before two substitutes combined when Jan Thielmann's strike was inadvertently diverted into the net by Dominick Drexler. Koln pushed for a precious point, but Tolu Arokodare's free header from a last minute corner was comfortably saved by Manuel Neuer.

Bayern's 6-2 win at Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League in midweek hugely flattered them, meanwhile, with the Austrians taking the lead in the early stages before Jerome Boateng's 79th minute goal made it 3-2 to the Bavarians. Lewandowski, Leroy Sane and Lucas Hernandez added gloss to the victory in the dying stages, but they may require a better performance if they are to win Der Klassiker.

Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form: WLWWWW
Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions): WLWWWW

Bayern Munich Bundesliga form: WLWWWW
Bayern Munich form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Team News

Favre will be particularly sweating on the fitness of Hummels, with early indications not particularly great for BVB.

Last year's Bundesliga runners-up are already without other defensive options such as Emre Can(coronavirus), Dan-Axel Zagadou (knee) and Marcel Schmelzer (knee), meaning Axel Witsel may have to deputise in defence as he did in Brugge.

Bayern, meanwhile, have a few absences mounting, with Alphonso Davies likely out until December after tearing an ankle ligament, while Leon Goretzka (calf) and Niklas Sule (coronavirus) will not be available for the trip to Dortmund.

Corentin Tolisso should make his first league appearance since being sent off at Arminia last month alongside Joshua Kimmich in midfield, with Sane and Kingsley Coman fighting for a place on the opposite flank to Gnabry.

Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Burki; Meunier, Witsel, Akanji, Guerreiro; Dahoud, Delaney; Sancho, Brandt, Reus; Haaland

Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez; Tolisso, Kimmich; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski

Source: SportsMole


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