It’s the classic fixture of the Bundesliga. Newly rejuvenated Dortmund take on the record champions Bayern. In the buildup to the big game tomorrow, Bundesliga.com ran a simulation of the game. While it’s interesting to watch and analyze, we obviously shouldn’t take it as cold hard facts. We can learn some things from the simulation, but then again, it is a video game. Take what is here with a grain of salt.
Bayern opened the match out strong with a good attack, but Dortmund quickly responded within the first ten minutes to take the lead. It was a good ball in from Hakimi to Pulisic, who laid it off for Jadon Sancho to finish.
The rest of the game was all Dortmund. With another cross from Hakimi, Jakob Bruun Larsen doubled his side’s advantage to 2-0 up. For some reason, digital Joshua Kimmich decided to keep running straight while his man veered off. I’m confident enough in Kimmich to say that he wouldn’t do that in an actual game.
Bayern mustered one more chance in the 70th minute when Arjen Robben flicked the ball up and volleyed it with his right foot (yes his right, not his left), but it went right to Roman Burki.
(Alas, Arjen Robben is out of the lineup for the game. The simulation did not account for this.)
To seal the win for the home side, Hakimi sent in yet another cross, which took a bobble and was finally smashed home by Raphael Guerrero. Throughout the match it became evident exactly what Dortmund’s strategy was — and it worked.
It seems that even Bayern’s virtual Bundesliga opponents know their weakness. Remember that stat about Manuel Neuer conceding 8 goals from 8 shots on target? A lot of those goals came from crosses. Whether it is from a lapse in concentration or a moment’s hesitation, the Bayern back line has been prone to allowing a man to split them and run in for the tap in. As clearly evidenced by the simulation, Dortmund are very capable of countering, particularly on the right side, sending a ball through the box, and getting on the end of it to score. If the virtual Dortmund side is keen enough to attack that way, the actual team will definitely be too.
How will Niko Kovac deal with Dortmund’s attacking threats? With injuries plaguing the team, who will step up and lead the team to victory? Or, will it simply be a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts, as predicted?