Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick has dismissed talk that Tuesday’s meeting with Borussia Dortmund could decide who wins the Bundesliga title.
Bayern currently sit top of the league table, four points clear of Dortmund, so Tuesday’s iteration of Der Klassiker will go a long way to dictating the final standings.
However, Flick was adamant after Saturday’s win against Eintracht Frankfurt (via the club’s official website) that he wants his side to see the match as just another game as there is far too much football left to play to get caught up in title talk just yet.
“We hope Tuesday’s match will be attractive,” he said. “Nothing will be decided after that, no matter what the result. The league is very balanced, especially at the top, with attractive football.”
There are currently seven games left to play this season, so Flick is right to state that nothing will be decided. However, if his side emerged victorious and extended their lead to seven points, it would be hard to see Dortmund catching up.
That being said, Bayern’s remaining fixtures are by no means guaranteed wins. They must face Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach, who are both in the current top five, while sixth-placed Freiburg and seventh-placed Wolfsburg are both still to come.
Bayern will come into the game on the back of a 5-2 win over Frankfurt, which Thomas Müller insisted proved just how much the Bavarians want to win the title.
“It was an absolutely crucial Bundesliga match for us,” he said. “We wanted to follow suit after Dortmund’s victory.
“Hats off to the team, we displayed a certain doggedness. We must push to our limits. We did that quite well. The two goals we conceded don’t look so good of course, but taken altogether our performance was pretty good.
“Against Dortmund we’ll show we can play with an extreme amount of passion, even without spectators. It’s a crucial week for us. We’ve set out to achieve three victories. We’re marching on. Dortmund are marching on. We have reason to look forward to Tuesday. We want the title in Munich, where it belongs.”
Robert Lewandowski has been nothing short of world class this season.
He’s on course for his best ever goalscoring season in a Bundesliga campaign, having already netted 27 goals in just 25 games, leaving him three strikes away from matching his best ever season which came in 2015/16.
The Poland international’s form has thrown open the possibility of Lewandowski setting a new all-time record for Bundesliga goalscorers too, so here we take a look at which players the Bayern Munich star will need to surpass on his journey to making history.
Uwe Seeler – 30
Former Hamburg striker Uwe Seeler was the top goalscorer in the Bundesliga’s inaugural season, netting 30 times in campaign with just 30 matches.
Seeler finished his career with 137 Bundesliga goals to his name, which is more than the likes of Rudi Völler, Giovane Elber and Jürgen Klinsmann.
Jupp Heynckes – 30
Jupp Heynckes is most well-known for his managerial career these days, but the former Bayern Munich boss had quite the playing career too.
The Borussia Mönchengladbach legend’s most prolific season came in 1973/74, when he scored 30 goals and was named as the top goalscorer for the first time in his career.
Ending his career with 220 Bundesliga goals, Lewandowski surpassed Heynckes on the all-time goalscoring charts earlier this season.
Lothar Emmerich – 31
Seeler might have been the first player to be crowned as the top goalscorer in the Bundesliga, but just two years later Lothar Emmerich set a new record for goals in a single season.
The Borussia Dortmund legend scored 31 of his career goals that term.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 31
Lewandowski had quite the rivalry with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the Gabon international’s time in the Bundesliga.
It was Bayern Munich’s striker who came out on top more often than not, but the one season where Aubameyang did finish as the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer, he netted more in a single campaign that Lewandowski’s ever been able to manage.
Dieter Müller – 34
Dieter Müller isn’t one of the more recognisable names for fans outside Germany, but the former Köln striker is one of the best goalscorers in Bundesliga history.
As well as being the only player to score a double hat trick in a single Bundesliga game, Müller was able to register one of the highest goal tallies during a league campaign.
Before Lewandowski scored 30 in 2016, Müller was the most recent player to reach at least 30 goals during a single season in 1976/77.
Gerd Müller – 40
Bayern Munich and Germany legend Gerd Müller is the Bundesliga’s best goalscorer of all time.
He finished his career with 365 goals in 427 games in Germany’s top flight, while he also holds the record for scoring the most goals in a single season.
Müller netted 36 in the 1972/72 season and 38 in the 1969/70 season, but Der Bomber’s best season came when he smacked in 40 during the 1971/72 campaign.
Müller scored four hat tricks that season, while he also netted four times in a match against Borussia Dortmund and five against Rot-Weiss Oberhausen.
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz has insisted that he will not be drawn on transfer speculation as he does not want to disrespect his current employers.
The 20-year-old was one of Europe’s hottest properties before football was postponed, but now the Bundesliga is the only major league running, the focus on him has intensified, and he has responded by bagging four goals in his last two games.
It’s that kind of form which has seen Havertz attract attention from all over the globe. Think of any major side and they’ve probably been linked with the German at some point. Bayern Munich are often named as favourites, but Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea are all rumoured to have something to say about that.
One man who won’t be saying anything is Havertz though, who told Sky Deutschland (via Goal) after his side’s huge 3-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach that he does not intend to disrespect Leverkusen by discussing other clubs.
“I do not like to say, of course, that there is a lot of speculation,” he said. “I’m concentrating on this season and will see what happens afterwards.
“I am very grateful to Leverkusen and I don’t want to mess it up in any way.”
We all know that Havertz’s latest words will do very little to dispel the rumours surrounding him. With just two years remaining on his current contract, it is expected that Havertz will leave Leverkusen while his value is still high, with his club thought to want close to £100m to part ways with their star.
Owen Hargreaves recently confessed to 90min that Havertz would fit in at any team in the world as a result of his versatility and all-round ability, insisting that his potential is ‘off the charts’.
The biggest issue with this transfer will be the price. In a post-coronavirus world, money is not expected to be thrown around as freely as it once was, so shelling out £100m on one player will likely be a rare occurence.
Havertz, who has managed 14 goals and eight assists in all competitions, is the kind of player who could still command such a fee, but whether any side would be able to meet Leverkusen’s demands is a different question entirely.
A 2-0 win over Union Berlin in the capital saw Bayern Munich continue their winning ways last week as BuLi football returned, though an improvement on what was far from a world class display was vital as they welcomed Eintracht Frankfurt to Bavaria this weekend.
An eerily quiet afternoon in Bavaria wasn’t the reception Die Roten would’ve anticipated, nor wanted, but there was no choice but to play another Geisterspiel. Hans-Dieter Flick knew the importance of his team producing a statement performance, with Der Klassiker right around the corner.
Bayern began brilliantly, bombing forward at every opportunity and creating havoc for Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. It was only a matter of time before FCB scored the opener.
And they did so in quite a beautiful fashion: Ivan Periši? let the ball run for Thomas Müller, Müller accelerated down the wing and pulled it back for Leon Goretzka, and Goretzka smashed the ball into the top corner with a ruthless finish to put the hosts in front. The lead was inevitable, but the quality of the goal remained astonishing.
Müller soon doubled their lead, though credit must go to Alphonso Davies for his delightful cross into the German’s feet. Robert Lewandowski added a third 45 seconds into the second half, seemingly the killer blow from the ruthless German giants.
While Bayern went on to add a fourth and fifth to see out the victory, there was a three-minute period that changed the dynamic of the game. Die Roten were the better side and deserved the three points, but for all of their beautiful attacking football, their overall performance wasn’t without blemishes.
Bayern were in control after their third, but suddenly, something went wrong.
They were playing brilliant attacking football, but for one second too many they got complacent and too comfortable. Before they knew it, Martin Hinteregger had pulled one back for Frankfurt out of nothing – it was a travesty that he had even had the opportunity to bare in on Bayern’s goal.
Before Bayern managed to regroup and react to the first, they conceded a second. Same situation, same culprit in Hinteregger, swooping past a static FCB defence to head past a hapless Manuel Neuer in goal. The German captain was furious, and rightly so. Bayern had conceded quick-fire goals to a centre-back, opening the match wide open.
Within nine minutes, Bayern had gone from cruising at 3-0 to fighting to protect a one-goal lead against the side 13th in the Bundesliga.
That is the point of concern ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Borussia Dortmund. If Frankfurt can take advantage of mistakes and score two goals to get back into the game, what are the attacking arsenal of Borussia Dortmund capable of doing if given the chance?
BVB are ruthless in the offensive third, and while Bayern know how to neutralise Lucien Favre’s side, one mistake and lapse in concentration could prove costly.
Erling Haaland will be a tough test for Bayern’s back four, combined with the pace and power of Jadon Sancho, Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard. That’s not to mention Dortmund’s electric full-backs, Achraf Hakimi and Raphaël Guerreiro, who could capitalise on one slip, one poor pass, one error.
It takes just one small mistake to completely change the game, and while the errors seen on Saturday didn’t cost them the win, they can certainly do that when Bayern meet one of the best teams in Germany, let alone in Europe. Flick needs to fix the flaws ahead of the derby, or else it will be his side that are on the wrong end of a thrashing.
While the mistakes were there and the goals were conceded, it shouldn’t take too much away from Bayern. They still put in an explosive performance, scoring five quality goals and once again proving why they have been the champions of Germany for seven straight years.
There’s work to be done, but we knew that already. After all, there’s a reason Bayern haven’t been running away with the title this season – because, believe it or not, this Bayern side is not without its flaws and weaknesses.
Saturday’s victory showed the best and worst of Bayern: their stunning attacking football, which can be quickly tarnished by defensive lethargy and complacent football. Nonetheless, they’re top of the table for a reason, and Tuesday’s Der Klassiker will define the remainder of the season for both halves of the derby divide.
13 league games unbeaten. 22 goals in their last six games. Six consecutive wins.
Bayern are ready for Der Klassiker.
For more from Nischal Schwager-Patel, follow him on Twitter here!
Seven days have passed since football returned to our screens, and we’re happy to declare, it’s lived to survive for a second weekend. And even if some of us were not the biggest Bundesliga fans before the month of May, we’re all finally starting to get our feet under the tisch (that’s German for table).
And after Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach all picked up three points a week ago, the title hopefuls were all desperate to repeat their heroics for the second week running. So what did this weekend’s Bundesliga action have in store at the top and bottom of the German top flight?
90min is on hand to fill you in on all the games from Saturday’s matches.
At the top end of the table, Borussia Dortmund kept up the pressure on leaders Bayern on Saturday, defeating a stubborn Wolfsburg side 2-0 thanks to goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi. The Portugal international blasted home the opener from close range, after Erling Haaland craftily missed the ball with an uncharacteristic air-shot. Haters will say it was unintentional.
Hakimi put the game to bed with 12 minutes to play, rounding off some lovely play from Jadon Sancho, who danced beyond his marker and laid the ball perfectly into the path of his Moroccan teammate.
But anything Dortmund can do, Bayern can do better. The Bavarian giants dispatched Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 – although they didn’t have it all their own way in Munich. Leon Goretzka gave the hosts the lead on 17 minutes, and Thomas Muller added a second just before half-time.
Robert Lewandowski seemingly put the result beyond doubt with a third only a minute after the restart, but Frankfurt shocked the Bundesliga champions with two goals in three minutes through Martin Hinteregger.
But Alphonso Davies quickly restored Bayern’s two-goal advantage on 61 minutes, and Hinteregger then completed his hat-trick – but with an own goal this time, allowing the league leaders to enjoy a comfortable final 15 minutes.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen delivered another strong display against Monchengladbach, putting a huge dent in the hosts’ fading title hopes, thanks to another dazzling display by Kai Havertz. The 20-year-old opened the scoring in the first half, latching onto a beautifully-weighted through ball to slot cooly beyond goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
The man of the moment Kai Havertz converts the penalty and restores our lead!
He’s still never missed a penalty!#BMGB04 | 1-2 pic.twitter.com/PzGSfsitgS
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) May 23, 2020
Marcus Thuram levelled proceedings in the second half however, finding space and lashing home from the right of the penalty area, but Monchengladbach enjoyed parity for only six minutes, after Havertz doubled his tally from the penalty spot. Sven Bender added a third with ten minutes to play, clinching a massive 3-1 victory for Leverkusen.
At the bottom of the table, Werder Bremen earned a vital three points in their bid to avoid relegation, beating Freiburg 1-0, and dealing a blow to the hosts’ European ambitions. Werder took the lead on 19 minutes, when Leonardo Bittencourt fired an arrowing low drive into the bottom corner from all of 25 yards.
Davy Klaassen has just pulled an assist out of the very top drawer ?
First-time, sensational vision!
Leonardo Bittencourt with a massive goal for Werder Bremen!#BundesligaIsBack pic.twitter.com/MVL4LvvmKj
— ??Ja! Watch the Bundesliga live on BT Sport?? (@btsportfootball) May 23, 2020
Freiburg thought they had snatched a last-minute equaliser through Manuel Guide, but his goal was disallowed, and Werder held on to a valuable victory.
Meanwhile, Paderborn continued their battle against the drop by picking up a crucial draw at home to Hoffenheim, The visitors took the lead inside four minutes, when Robert Skov blasted into the roof of the net from close range, but Dennis Srbeny pulled Paderborn level five minutes later.
Despite claiming a point, Paderborn are still rooted to the bottom of the table, trailing Werder Bremen by three points.