Football gods have been merciful with us, blessing with the host of big derby matches throughout Europe this weekend. One of the highlight games is definitely the Saturday’s Klassiker between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, two great rivals who have done plenty to make their rivalry a world-wide affair.
Three on the trot?
Borussia Dortmund are in a good place ahead of the weekend’s big match as Thomas Tuchel’s men are coming off from a seven-match winless stretch in all competitions. The BVB have warmed up for the Klassiker in style having put five past helpless Hamburger SV to claim an impressive 5-2 victory which was marked by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring four goals. It was his way of saying sorry for breaching the club’s curfew a week before by attending a party in Italy which ultimately resulted in him being left out of the squad for the Champions League match against Sporting. Dortmund ended up winning the game, but Tuchel admitted that his team is not the same without the talisman striker. Aubameyang is once again expected to lead the line against Bayern Munich as the Gabon international looks to improve his 11-goal Bundesliga tally. Saturday’s clash will be a good opportunity for Dortmund to notch three wins in succession for the first time since September. It will also be a chance for BVB to get out of Bayern’s shadow and try to win their first match against the Bavarian giants since 2014 which would help them close the ten-point gap behind Bayern.
Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer is set to make a return to the team after recovering from a muscle tear. Marco Reus is also on the brink of the first team for the first time since the DFB-Pokal final defeat to Bayern in May. Sven Bender remains the only unavailable player for the Saturday’s match.
Are Bayern slowing down?
There have been some public concerns regarding Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern not being ruthless and concrete enough and they most certainly gathered pace ahead of the international break with the Bavarians being forced to settle for a 1-1 stalemate with Hoffenheim at home. The visitors did well to open the scoring after only 16 minutes in the game, but Bayern quickly equalised through Zuber’s own goal. The Bavarians nevertheless failed to take advantage of their dominance as the result remained unchanged until the end. Bayern are yet to suffer a defeat in the 2016-17 season but are struggling to shake off the competition with RB Leipzig breathing down their necks with the identical tally of 24 points after ten rounds. A win in the Klassiker would be a major morale boost for the team which made only two Bundesliga wins in last five matches. Bundesliga leaders have a good record against Borussia Dortmund as they are yet to be defeated in Dortmund since 2012. Keeping the stretch alive will be extremely difficult however, given Bayern’s poor patch and plenty of selection issued Carlo Ancelotti has to deal with ahead of the Saturday’s trip.
Defender Boateng sustained an injury against Hoffenheim and is expected to miss the game through his knee problem. Franck Ribery has not featured since September and will once again be out of the squad, while goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Javi Martinez have both trained individually. Both of them are doubtful, which cannot be said of Arjen Robben who brushed off his thigh problem and is expected to be fit to feature.
Derbies are always hard to predict as you never know for sure what could happen. What we do know with fair amount of certainty however is that we are all in for a highly contested affair and potentially exciting match. Dortmund have a long winless run behind them and we feel that this weekend brings the best chance of claiming three points in a while.
Top pick: Dortmund 3.50 (5/2) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – yes 1.70 (7/10) @BetFair
Alternative pick 2: Aubameyang to score anytime 2.85 (24/13) @Unibet