The second Der Klassiker of the season takes place this Saturday at Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park – the same venue where Bayern Munich claimed Super Cup glory in August.
Although in recent years this game hasn’t proved to be much of a title decider, Borussia Dortmund have been the only team to offer Bayern a consistent challenge for the Bundesliga crown since the days of the great Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hamburger SV sides in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s Der Klassiker.
With no shortage of classic encounters between the two heavyweights of German football, it seems only fair to look back at the last time Jupp Heynckes faced Borussia Dortmund as the Bayern manager and crowned the Bavarians as the champions of Europe.
Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund side showed their class in the opening 45 minutes and peppered the Bayern Munich goal with shot after shot. However, failing to convert their chances allowed Bayern to take the upper hand in the second-half and Mario Mandžuki? put the Bavarians in front with a simple tap-in.
Dortmund were then given a lifeline when Brazilian defender Dante clattered into Marco Reus inside the 18-yard box. ?lkay Gündo?an stepped up to take the penalty for die Schwarzgelben and the German midfielder calmly put the ball into the back of the net.
Just 90 seconds before the full-time whistle, Arjen Robben became Bayern’s hero with a delicate finish beyond the helpless Roman Weidenfeller to secure the Champions League trophy, Bayern Munich ending the 2012/13 season as winners of the treble.
Robert Lewandowski vs Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The two best strikers in the Bundesliga will go head to head on Saturday with both Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looking set to battle it out between them to win the Torjägerkanone this season.
The two former teammates in Dortmund found themselves at the centre of one of the most exciting goalscoring races last season, with Aubameyang’s 31-goal haul preventing his Polish counterpart from becoming the joint second most successful recipient of the goal hunters cannon in Bundesliga history.
This season, both strikers are currently sat on 10 league goals each. Aubameyang is, however, edging Lewandowski across all competitions, one extra goal in the DFB Cup the only thing to put the Gabonese forward ahead of Bayern’s star man.
For the hosts on Saturday, the only significant team news in the suspension of Dan-Axel Zagadou. The 18-year-old was given his marching orders against Hannover last week and Peter Bosz will be looking to his senior players to fill the boots of Dortmund’s impressive youngster.
In the Bayern camp, seeing Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller return to training will be a huge boost. Jérôme Boateng and Kingsley Coman are also both carrying minor knocks, however, the Bayern pair should be involved from the start.
Potential Borussia Dortmund Lineup: Bürki, Toljan, Sokratis, Bartra, Schmelzer, Weigl, Dahoud, Castro, Yarmolenko, Philipp, Aubameyang.
Potential Bayern Munich Lineup: Ulreich, Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, Alaba, Vidal, Tolisso, Robben, James, Coman, Lewandowski.
Despite their incredible start to the season, Borussia Dortmund have been given a rude awakening in recent weeks and any talk about the possibility of winning the Bundesliga title this season is now nothing more than a whisper.
Although Bosz’s side shouldn’t be on the end of a 4-2 defeat like they were last week, the visiting Bavarians could still have a lot of joy and run out resounding victors.
The pressure is on the home side to prevent Bayern Munich moving six points clear at the top of the table and Dortmund will need to show a lot of character if they want to regain some of the pride that has been lost recently.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich