Bundesliga, Round 28, Tuesday.
Venue: Signal-Iduna-Park, Dortmund, Germany.
Predicted Score: 3-1 to Bayern Munich.
The Bundesliga is nearing its conclusion for the year and like the past few seasons Bayern and Dortmund are contesting each other very closely for the Meisterschala, albeit, more closely followed by the others this year. And yet, this “der Klassiker”, the biggest fixture of the entire season will be very different from all other previous ones. This time as Neuer and company take the field the will not do so to the chorus of the Dortmund Ultras cursing them. Nor will the Bayern Ultras have those humongous flags waving from the opposite side of the pitch when someone in red shirt nets a goal. The usual explosiveness and the energy will be missing from the encounter, as the fans who make up so great a part of this beautiful sport will be missing. However, the show must go on and these men will play not only for the title but also to lift the spirits of thousands of fans worldwide sitting glued to the their t.v screens, knowing that it might be the only thing that their fans look forward to in these hard times. And after all, isn’t that the main purpose of football, or any sport for that matter?
Bayern to retain their winning run?
Bayern has been good lately and have not lost a single fixture in their last 8 matches and this is one game that they will bring all their intensity to given the age old rivalry and the condition of the league table. Bayern sits top with 61 points as league leaders with Borussia Dortmund closely following them with 57 points.
Bayern started their campaign after the corona virus forced break with a match against Union Berlin, they won the match 2-0, however, they were not as attacking or slick even as they had been previously, i.e after Hansi Flick had taken over. Their run-ins were not fast enough and they missed a few counter-attack opportunities, but the opponents being Union Berlin it didn’t cost them much. They looked much better against Eintracht Frankfurt. The pace was back, the passes accurate and fast and they were playing attacking football, the kind that had come to be associated with Flick’s Bayern. There were flaws still the defense did switch off at times, leading to the two quick goals from Martin Hinteregger in the second half and two others were saved only by the brilliance of Neuer.
These mistakes will prove fatal against Dortmund as they will be quick to latch on to their misses, given the kind of form they have been in. Haland has been in good goal scoring form and the much slower center-backs might find it difficult to stop Hazard and Brandt. The defense has to tighter in the middle and both Pavard and Davis, good as they have been, will have to have their guard up, especially since, in all possibility, they will be missing the experience of Thiago in the middle, due to an injury. The absence of Gnabry will also hamper Bayern’s pace on the wings. Gnabry and Coman make a great pair, however, they have played very few matches together in the season because of injury and Ivan Perisic will be replacing Gnabry. He has had occasional bursts of greatness but his has definitely been a mixed bag of performance. Goretzka has been a revelation in the last match and he needs to maintain that level if Bayern is to hold fort.
Lewy has been in good nick this season and he is expected to score well against his previous club in an arena he knows well, however, the biggest gain of Hansi Flick’s charge is the resurgence of Thomas Muller. Every time, this grand old man of Bayern scores it’s a delight, something that every Bayern fan had been missing in the Kovach era.
Predicted XI: In the absence of Gnabry and Thiago and aclound over Boateng’s selection, Bayern will probably switch to a new formation.
Pavard, Boateng/Hernandez, Alaba, Davis
Muller, Kimmich, Goretzka
Coman, Lewy, Perisic
Or, will Dortmund presses closer to the title?
Dortmund will enter the match in strong form, having beaten Schalke 04 4-0 and Wolfsburg 2-0 since returning to action on May 16. Lucien Favre‘s side have actually now won their last six Bundesliga matches dating back to the start of February, while they have only been on the losing side on four occasions in Germany’s top flight this season.
BVB have not actually won the league since 2011-12, but a victory in this game would send out a strong message. Indeed, the gap from first to second is currently four points, meaning that three points for the home side would leave them within touching distance of their rivals. Dortmund will be able to call upon one of the outstanding young forwards in European football as Erling Braut Haaland prepares to take to the field. The 19-year-old has scored 10 times in 10 Bundesliga matches since arriving from Red Bull Salzburg, including a goal in the 4-0 success over Schalke on May 16. There is no question that the hosts have one of the most exciting forward lines in European football, but they have lost 4-0 and 5-0 in their last two Bundesliga clashes with Bayern.
Dortmund are sweating on the fitness of former Bayern defender Mats Hummels, who had to be replaced against Wolfsburg on Saturday with an Achilles problem. Hummels is being tipped to recover in time for Tuesday’s clash, but Marco Reus, Nico Schulz and Dan-Axel Zagadou will again miss out for the home side through injury, while Axel Witsel remains a doubt. Jadon Sancho has appeared off the bench in Dortmund’s last two matches, and it seems likely that the England international will return to the starting XI for this match. Emre Can could also start, having made his return from injury off the bench last time out, while Sancho’s possible inclusion could see Julian Brandt drop into a deeper role.
Predicted XI: 4-3-3-1
Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji;
Hakimi, Can, Brandt, Guerreiro;
Sancho, Haaland, Hazard
Cover the Spread Trends
Bayern Munich have won five of the last six meetings between the two sides. In the reverse fixture at the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich secured a comprehensive 4-0 victory in November 2019. Borussia Dortmund have failed to score and have conceded a staggering nine goals in their last two meetings against Bayern Munich. Both sides have won two games on the bounce since the restart, with Lucien Favre’s side recording two shutouts in the process.
Bayern Bundesliga form: WWWWWW
Bayern form (all competitions): WWWWWW
Dortmund Bundesliga form: WWWWWW
Dortmund form (all competitions): WWWLWW
Free Bundesliga Picks Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich.
This is going to be one close contest where the competition is so close that a loss now will hurt both teams. But, Bayern Munich’s the reigning champions and they have evolved into one of the best European teams under Flick, a team that never says die and tries to dominate the opponent be it a home or an away match. Thus, I expect Bayern to attack, keep possession for most parts and create breaks in the defense by virtue of pace of their youngsters and yet concede a goal or two. But they have the armada to outscore the opponents and I shall always back Bayern.
Expert Pick: 3-1 Bayern Munich