One thing that might be overlooked about what is now known as the Klassiker is what it has done for German football.
Think about it. When has there been this amount of hype around a Bundesliga match in the European landscape? The fact that FC Bayern München/Borussia Dortmund is being mentioned in the same sentence as Real Madrid/FC Barcelona or Manchester United/Manchester City speaks volumes of how these two teams have cemented German football back on the map.
Now the rivalry features a first-year manager that is arguably the best in the world and an outgoing, charismatic manager that has lifted his side into European relevance. The Robert Lewandowski saga adds extra spice, and Mario Götze's return is a nice cherry on top for a delectable fixture.
While injuries may have watered down the meeting, people still had this match-up circled on their calenders. Hopefully the feature will still grab the quality of the UEFA Champions League Final in May.
The Match (103rd Meeting)
Location: Signa Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany
Head: Manuel Gerafe
FC Bayern: 14 W, 7 D, 5 L – 51 YC, 2 Y-R, 1 RC
Assistants: Guido Kieve, Markus Sinn
Fourth Official: Knut Kircher
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com
Television and Streaming:
UK: BT Sport 1
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 2 | HD, Sky Go, Sky 3D, Liga Total, Liga Total Mobile TV
FC Bayern: WWWWW
Bundesliga: 38 W, 28 D, 22 L
DFB Pokal: 4 W, 2 L
DFL Supercup: 1 W, 2 L
Ligapokal: 2 W, 0 L
UEFA Champions League: 1 W, 1 D, 1 L
Top Scorers (Bundesliga)
1. Gerhard "Gerd" Müller, FCB – 14
2. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, FCB – 9
3. Lothar Emmerich, BVB – 8
4. Manfred Burgsmüller, BVB; Roy Makaay, FCB – 7
Largest Victory: 11-1 (November 27, 1971, Munich, Germany)
Largest Defeat: 3-6 (September 9, 1967, Dortmund, Germany)
Most Goals Scored: 4; Gerhard "Gerd" Müller, FCB (November 27, 1971)
If one were not a believer in what unbeaten FC Bayern has done, Dortmund would be a pretty good litmus test. Besides a rematch against Manchester City, Dortmund is really the last real big test from now until the international break.
Trying to get the taste of the DFL Supercup out of its mouth, FC Bayern are in a similar position to August's side. Key injuries are still pepper over the park (see Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery) and the availability of some of the players is an unknown (see Javier Martínez, Thiago Alcântara).
Schweinsteiger's substitute looks defined; either Martínez is healthy enough to play in the pivot or the Philipp Lahm/Rafinha experiment continues to bubble. Ribéry's replacement is less so.
All three times that Ribéry has not started, Xherdan Shaqiri took his place, which is an implausible scenario given the Swiss's thigh injury still on the mend. The only time someone not named Ribéry or Shaqiri played on the left was when Mario Götze pushed Thomas Müller to the left wing in the waning minutes against Manchester City.
Given Götze's recent spell on the wing, he seems a likely candidate to occupy the left, with Robben, fresh from an early callback from the Oranje, reoccupying the right. That being said, trying to get inside of Guardiola's head is like trying to get into Cuba with an American passport.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1)
Alaba – Dante – Boateng – Lahm
Bench: Starke, Contento, van Buyten, Rafinha, Højbjerg, Thiago, Weiser
While it sounds a little paltry, the DFL Supercup victory for Dortmund may be the biggest one they have had in all competitions this fall.
Die Schwarzgelben have beaten the opponents they were supposed to beat – some rather convincingly – but have lost to VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach, albeit on the road. Drawn into a tough Champions League group, Dortmund have made it hard on themselves after losing to Arsenal at home.
Part of the reason for their recent struggle is due to injury, their back four not looking anything like the Supercup in August, let alone the one that guided the Prussians to the UEFA Champions League Final in May. Mats Hummels is out until January with an osseous avulsion injury, Marcel Schmelzer is out three weeks with a calf strain, Neven Subotic is out indefinitely with an ACL tear, and Lukasz Piszczek has yet to return from his hip and groin issues.
Add Ilkay Gündoğan's back injury and the spine of the team is more wobbly than ever.
Klopp is not opposed to taking a player out of midfield and sticking him on the back line. Kevin Großkreutz is the big example, while Jakub Błaszczykowski could be the next candidate to move backwards. The club also has signed former German international Manuel Friedrich, and may have to throw him into the fire of the Klassiker.
Scoring has never been a trouble, scoring 32 goals in the Bundesliga. Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus are now proven world-class players, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitarian have settled into Klopp's side rather seamlessly.
Klopp will have to mix and match, and his team selection will be as intriguing as his off-the-wall personality.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1)
Reus – Mkhitarian – Aubameyang
Bender – Şahin
Großkreutz – Papastathopoulos – Friedrich – Błaszczykowski
Bench: Langerak, Durm, Günter, Kirch, Hofmann, Kehl, Schieber
The west vs. the southeast, the black and yellows vs. the reds, the best-scoring offense vs. the stingiest defense, the champions vs. the runners up. It is hard to unlock these two, but considering the decimated state of Dortmund's defense, even a Ribéry absence won't stop FC Bayern. The Rekordmeister might escape Nordrhein-Westfallen with a victory, something they have not done since 2009, but not before getting some bruises themselves.