The Bundesliga now is in the bag, so Bayern Munich can now focus on the semifinals in the other two competitions that will complete their second treble. Before they take on Barcelona in a headline grabbing tie, they must be victors in the fourth Klassiker of the season against Borussia Dortmund.
The two met just three and a half weeks ago, a strenuous three points Bayern absconded with after a very conservative performance. With better health and return to form of several key players, the task may look easier for the Rekordmeister, but Dortmund will have a reckless abandonment with nothing to lose.
This is the last time we will get to see a Klassiker of this nature, Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola sharing a touchline one final time. Neither will hold anything back with a trip to Berlin in the balance.
The Match (109th Meeting)
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Head: Peter Gagelmann
FC Bayern: 23 W, 3 D, 3 L – 27 YC, 2 Y/R
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Television and Streaming:
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FC Bayern: WWWLW
Bayern Surrender DFL-Supercup to Dortmund
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang collects a goal and an assist as Bayern fail to find a break through.
Bayern Win Der Klassiker 2-1
In an unquestionable fantastic match, Bayern Munich edge Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to win Der Klassiker.
Bundesliga: 41 W, 28 D, 23 L
DFB Pokal: 5 W, 0 D, 2 L
UEFA Champions League: 1 W, 1 D, 1 L
DFL Supercup: 1 W, 3 L
Ligapokal: 2 W, 0 L
Largest Victory: 11-1 (Bundesliga: November 27, 1971, Munich)
Largest Defeat: 3-6 (Bundesliga: September 9, 1967, Dortmund)
What a stretch of home matches this has been for the Rekordmeister. They turned on the nitrous oxide against Porto to ratchet up a Champions League quarterfinal comeback, and then used B-teamers to find a way past the defensively resurgent Hertha Berlin. Now they have a chance to punch at least one more ticket to Berlin this season.
To do so, Guardiola is going to need a third different approach to take down Dortmund one more time. One of his world class wingers, Arjen Robben, will only be available from the bench after returning to team training this week, but his midfield is deeper than it has been in months. He now has the delicate task of legitimate team selection juggling act, trying to convert the success of the past week to future results.
With Bastian Schweinsteiger's emphatic return at the weekend, it will be hard to keep him out of the side. There may be a place for him with Thiago Alcantara's return, with him and Lahm pairing up to help support Bayern at both ends. Xabi Alonso, while very useful in possession, is not the shield Schweinsteiger is, and Guardiola is going to need one with Aubameyang and Reus on the pitch.
Guardiola deployed a back five in his last encounter with Dortmund, but that may not be an option with Mehdi Benatia and Javi Martínez not fully fit. Instead, with Schweinsteiger and Lahm in support, Bayern will have to return to a back four, counting on Juan Bernat and Rafinha to win the one-on-one battles on the flanks.
The crowd could fuel their energy for the second midweek match in a row, but only if Bayern allow them to. They will need to be on their game in order to avoid a late Cup upset.
Projected Lineup (4-3-3):
Mario Götze – Robert Lewandowski – Thomas Müller
Bastian Schweinsteiger – Philipp Lahm
Juan Bernat – Dante – Jérôme Boateng – Rafinha
Bench: Pepe Reina, Mehdi Benatia, Javi Martínez, Sebastian Rode, Xabi Alonso, Arjen Robben, Claudio Pizarro
Out/Suspended: David Alaba (knee), Holger Badstuber (thigh), Franck Ribéry (ankle), Tom Starke (ankle)
They have gone through the crucible, and yet Borussia Dortmund still have a chance to qualify for Europe. One of their paths to the Europa League involves beating the Bundesliga champions, while the other involves leapfrogging a club or two (depending on if Wolfsburg win in Bielefeld) with two tough road matches on the docket. Let's focus on the first option, also known as Jürgen Klopp's final match in Allianz Arena with a bright yellow BVB hat on his head.
Klopp has had a tough task, especially when it comes to the final third. His best attacking piece, Marco Reus, is continuously banged up – sat out two of the last three Bundesliga games with groin issues – and his other pieces acquired in the last two years have not been worth the price tag they came with, no matter how low they were.
That said, Reus is expected to be ready for the match on Tuesday, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored in three of his last four matches. To make things sweeter, Klopp may have finally stumbled upon the defensive combination he has searched for all season long, with Erik Durm forcing his way into the lineup with consecutive impactful performances.
Klopp will not have his longtime No. 1 Roman Weidenfeller, the 33-year-old expecting to miss the match with back issues. However, Mitchell Langerak has stood between the pipes in most of the cup matches as it is, so he will come back in without missing a beat.
Dortmund are going to need the performance of the season in order to top this Bayern team, but with five matches left to play in all competitions, they do not have any other match to save it for.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Marco Reus – Shinji Kagawa – Kevin Kampl
Ilkay Gündogan – Sven Bender
Marcel Schmelzer – Mats Hummels – Sokratis Papastathopoulos – Erik Durm
Bench: Hendrick Bonmann, Neven Subotić, Matthias Ginter, Milos Jojić, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Adrian Ramos, Ciro Immobile
Out/Suspended: Joseph-Claude Gyau (knee), Sebastian Kehl (rib), Marian Sarr (shin), Roman Weidenfeller (back)
Dortmund are going to kick off this match like bats out of hell, what we have seen them do in the DFB-Pokal and Champions League finals the last two years. That approach may fall into Bayern's favor, for the Schwarzgelben could be out of steam by the 60th minute. Bayern will bide their time and wait for the right opening, and use one of their poached Dortmund talents to find the winning goals.