Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are two of the biggest names in world football at the minute. Both clubs are probably the most successful in Germany in modern times, winning many trophies and garnering huge numbers of fans over the past few years. For Bayern, the style of football employed by Pep Guardiola during his time at the club as well as the success Jupp Heynckes had before him has been a major factor in their increase in admirers. For Dortmund, the glory years under Jurgen Klopp brought them back to the forefront of people’s minds after years in the footballing wilderness. Now they are the two biggest teams in Germany. Make no mistake about it, this is a big one.
The statistics show that these teams are on as even a keel on the pitch as off it. This is the 25th time they have met in all competitions since November 2011; Bayern have won 10, Dortmund have won 8 and there have been 6 draws. However, with Bayern having won their last 3 games since the return of Jupp Heynckes and Dortmund not having won in 3 games, the odds seem stacked against BVB. The old cliche goes that form goes out the window in derbies and Peter Bosz will be hoping that this is the case here, as a win for his team would see them leapfrog their opponents and reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga. He said, “If we win, we ascend once more to the top of the table, and will have rid ourselves of that feeling [losing games]. We will give our all to win this match.”
In his pre-match press conference the manager was keen to point out the support of the home fans, in particular, those in the Yellow Wall, will be key to victory on Saturday. You can’t put it into words. You need to have experienced it for yourself”, said the Dutchman of the Yellow Wall. “The fans can really help the team if things should get tricky.”
On the other side of the dugout from Bosz will be Heynckes. The veteran German answered the SOS call of his former employer, a club at which he is a legend for his exploits as a manager in two previous spells, and his side have been resurgent since. However, he is aware his side still have some way to go to get back to their best and that continues at Signal Iduna Park today. “We have big ambitions, we want to continue our winning run. We are aware that our opponents will certainly have something to say about that.” Heynckes doesn’t want to read too much into the recent form of the two sides. “When two teams of this calibre meet, what’s happened before goes out of the window. You can’t be so naïve as to go there and think that Borussia will cave in and we can win with one eye shut. I am expecting a very intensive and close-fought match. For me there’s no clear favourite.”
Both sides will be without big players for this one, all of whom are long-term absentees. For BVB, Marco Reus, Sebastien Rode and Erik Durm fit that description. Lukasz Piszczek is still out following the muscle strain he picked during the last international break with Poland. Dan-Axel Zagadou will miss this game through suspension following his red card in Hannover last week. With that being the case Omer Toprak is expected to come back into the fold after being rested for the midweek game against APOEL in the Champions League. Marc Bartra is expected to move into right-back.
For Bayern, Juan Bernat, Manuel Neuer, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller are still on the treatment table. Sven Ulreich will continue in goal for the aforementioned Neuer. Star summer signing James Rodriguez is looking likely to start on the bench as Heynckes looks for work rate and desire from his side in one of the biggest games in their season.
Games like these can make or break seasons. They say that if you can’t be motivated for the big sides then you’re in the wrong profession. No player should, and probably won’t in all fairness, go on that pitch today suffering from any issues with motivation. This is BVB’s chance to get themselves back on track against their Bundesliga rivals. A win here makes a statement. No pressure lads.