Bayern Munich will arguably face one of their toughest tests this season on Saturday against Borussia Dortmund, who are currently a point above Bayern in the Bundesliga table. This game comes at a turbulent time for Bayern. The team has won only one of their last four games, drawing one and losing two. This team is in desperate need of good results and, after Niko Kovac’s departure, now would be a great time for current interim coach Hansi Flick to prove his mettle.
The last time the two sides faced each other was in August in the DFL Supercup, which Bayern lost by a scoreline of 2-0. Much has changed in both clubs since that game, but Dortmund nevertheless always remain a threat, and one of the few teams that can always come into a game against Bayern with confidence. A good result could turn momentum in Bayern’s favour moving forward, giving them much needed motivation for the games to follow.
Bayern defender Jerome Boateng will be suspended for the game on account of his red card against Eintracht Frankfurt. Other than that, Bayern head into this fixture with a complete squad (barring Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez, who are out with long term injuries).
Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, are facing a miniature crisis in attack. Both Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho are doubtful to feature in the game due to short-term injuries. However, Dortmund have players more than capable to fill in the voids. Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard, Mario Goetze, Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro provide ample quality to cover those positions. On the good side, however, striker Paco Alcacer is fit to start after getting minutes midweek against Inter Milan. He will be rearing to get some goals against Bayern.
Coach Hansi Flick confirmed in his pre-game press conference that Alphonso Davies will start, since he has the pace required to keep red-hot Achraf Hakimi in check and put additional pressure on the Dortmund back-line. Flick’s comments also indicated that Thiago and Philippe Coutinho might be benched again for this game.
Robert Lewandowski is expected to start up front as usual. Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry are the usual suspects to start on the wings against Dortmund, but it’s not impossible that we might see Ivan Perisic get a start after a good Champions League showing. Thomas Müller is almost a surefire starter. Flick has constantly expressed his admiration for the player, which means we might see Coutinho start on the bench for two games in a row.
Hence, the midfield will most likely be the same one that started against Olympiacos: Leon Goretzka will provide dynamism and Joshua Kimmich carry out defensive duties and generate chances from deep. The midfield seemed very fluid against the Greek side, and Flick will hope they recreate some of the direct, fast-paced passing play that we witnessed on Wednesday.
The defence is also expected to comprise the same back four that started against Olympiacos, with Davies at left-back, David Alaba and Javi Martinez manning the heart of the defense, and Benjamin Pavard occupying the right flank. Although a makeshift solution, this defence seems the best contingency plan after Boateng’s suspension. And of course, Manuel Neuer starts in goal, because who better than the sweeper-keeper himself to bail out the goal from Dortmund’s speedy attack?
Without further ado, here’s the lineup we think will start against Dortmund: