Bayern Munich - Borussia Dortmund Preview: Hosts can kill off champions' title hopes
The visitors go into this fixture 11 points behind their rivals, but know that three points on Saturday would keep their aspirations of a third straight Bundesliga alive
By Enis Koylu
Lahm, Dante, Badstuber, Alaba
Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger
Muller, Kroos, Ribery
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Kuba, Gotze, Reus
Bayern Munich shuffled the pack for the trip to Freiburg on Wednesday, leaving out Bastian Schweinsteiger. However, the Germany midfilder can be expected to slot back into the team after a well-deserved rest at the expense of Xherdan Shaqiri.
That will see him parter Javi Martinez in the deep-lying positions, with Toni Kroos shifting forward into the No.10 role. Elsewhere, coach Jupp Heynckes will have to make a decision on who will lead the line. Mario Gomez scored in the 5-0 win over Hannover last week, but was largely quiet during his hour against Freiburg.
Should the veteran coach decide not to pick the Germany star, either Mario Mandzukic or Claudio Pizarro will start in his absence. Luiz Gustavo, however, remains sidelined with a ligament problem, while Jerome Boateng is lacking fitness.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund also rested a couple of players for the game against Fortuna Dusseldorf on Tuesday. Mats Hummels sat out the Ruhr derby, but will slot back into the heart of defence at the expense of Felipe Santana.
Ilkay Gundogan also missed the Signal Iduna Park clash with a minor injury, but could return unless boss Jurgen Klopp elects to start with two defensive-minded midfielders in Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender. Finally, Mario Gotze will start, with Kevin Grosskreutz the most likely to drop to the bench.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Bayern Munich sealed their place as the Herbstmeister - the winter champions on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Freiburg at the Mage Solar Stadion.
- Jupp Heynckes has guided teams to second-placed finishes, behind Dortmund, for the last two seasons. His Leverkusen team ended 2010-11 seven points behind the champions, and Bayern trailed BVB by eight at the end of last season.
- The Roten's sporting director, Matthias Sammer, spent six years at the Westfalenstadion as a player, winning the Champions League and Ballon d'Or during his time there.
- Borussia Dortmund have won all of their last four Bundesliga games against Bayern.
- Mats Hummels began his career as a youth at the Allianz Arena, while Sven Bender, Mario Gotze and Moritz Leinter all hail from Bavaria.
- Since losing to Schalke on October 20, BVB are unbeaten in the league, emerging victorious over Bavarian opponents in Augsburg and Greuther Furth since.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Bayern München 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
- 15.74 %
FC Bayern München 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
- 15.74 %
FC Bayern München 2-0 Borussia Dortmund
- 10.09 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Nov 23, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 0 - FC Bayern München 3|
|Germany - Super Cup (GERS)||Jul 27, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 4 - FC Bayern München 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||May 25, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 1 - FC Bayern München 2|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||May 4, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 1 - FC Bayern München 1|
|Germany - DFB-Pokal (GERC)||Feb 27, 2013||FC Bayern München 1 - Borussia Dortmund 0|
|FC Bayern München|
|Mar 15, 2014||FC Bayern München 2 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1||GER1|
|Mar 11, 2014||FC Bayern München 1 - Arsenal 1||UCL|
|Mar 8, 2014||VfL Wolfsburg 1 - FC Bayern München 6||GER1|
|Mar 1, 2014||FC Bayern München 5 - Schalke 04 1||GER1|
|Feb 23, 2014||Hannover 96 0 - FC Bayern München 4||GER1|
Bayern have become a team constantly accused of lacking players for big matches, having sunk to disappointing second-placed finishes in three competitions last year. One player who always steps up, though, is Neuer. The former Schalke man will be particularly keen to get one over on BVB, and may need to be on form to keep Lewandowski, Gotze and Reus quiet.
One thing that BVB were sorely missing during the clash against Freiburg was a bit of creativity up front, and it is no coincidence that they were missing Gotze for that clash. The Germany international has been the focal point of his side's attacks throughout the season, and will need to be on top form to unlock Bayern's air-tight defence.
Dortmund have had Bayern's number in recent years, but the Bavarians showed that they have no mental block when it comes to their rivals. The visitors come into this match on the back of a disappointing draw with lowly opposition, and although they will by no means prove to be pushovers, I'd expect Heynckes' side to march on and claim a massive three points.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed