Der Klassiker is this weekend, and we needed to get some more information on Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich! So, what did we do? We went to our friend Sean Keyser over at Fear The Wall to get BVB’s side of things. So, let’s get to it.
1) How much does Joshua Kimmich not being available impact Dortmund’s game plan
I’m not sure it changes the plan very much, although it will definitely help that Bayern are missing one of their best players. The plan when Kimmich was in the squad was basically to play fast in transition and try to play quick verticals to Haaland. Kimmich being out should only make this easier. Unfortunately, Dortmund will probably also be a man down in midfield. Although it isn’t 100% confirmed, BVB will also likely be missing Jude Bellingham, who suffered a knee injury and hasn’t been in training over the last few days.
If there’s one thing Kimmich’s absence does unequivocally change, it’s the amount of vaccine jokes I’ll be cracking on Twitter during the game.
2) Is Erling Haaland going to be ready to go from the start or do you think he’d be most impactful coming on in the second half?
The fact that Haaland is going to be available at all is a small miracle, because until last weekend, most BVB fans were under the impression that he wouldn’t return until 2022. He only played 15 minutes against Wolfsburg this weekend, and the coaching and medical staff seem very hesitant to run him out for a full 90 minutes this coming Saturday. That being said, Haaland is one heck of a competitor, and every indication is that he’s doing everything he can to be ready to start and play the full match against Bayern. In the end, I imagine it will be a game time decision.
3) COVID is currently ravaging clubs throughout Germany. How are things going in Dortmund? What kind of crowd should we expect this weekend?
I don’t live in Germany so I can’t speak to the specifics of what’s happening on the ground in North-Rhine Westphalia, but from the reports I’ve read, it’s bad, if not quite as bad as other parts of the country like Bavaria. As of my writing this, no concrete decision has been made about how many people will be allowed into the stadium on Saturday, but the consensus from various news reports seems to be that it will be about 27,000, or about a third of the capacity of the Westfalenstadion. They may decide to go to a full Geisterspiel, or they may go along with other states and set the maximum capacity at 10,000. Either way, it will be nowhere near the atmosphere that you would normally expect at the WFS.
4) If BVB win this weekend, it’ll be the latest in the season (Matchday 14) that they’ll be first in the table since the 2018-19 season. Do you feel that this is a chance for a real statement game, or if Bayern are able to win this, do you think it’ll harm BVB’s confidence?
A win would absolutely boost BVB’s confidence. The league campaign has been going pretty well, especially given the injuries to Haaland, Reyna, Guerreiro, Dahoud, and others, but dropping out of what should have been an easy group in the Champions League really stung. With three points, Dortmund would leapfrog Bayern in the standings, and assuming they win out the remaining few matches in December, would be able to start the second half on top of the table.
If Bayern win, I think the three points will be what matter rather than a change in confidence. Bayern would have a four point lead, and they would be in an excellent position to start building their lead during the new year. Meanwhile, BVB have been able to bounce back from various defeats so far this season, so unless it’s a really putrid loss, I don’t think their confidence will be shot too badly.
Huge thanks to Sean for making this QandA possible! Check out our friends over at Fear The Wall for top-notch coverage of the Black and Yellow. On the other hand, if you’re here for more Bayern content, stick around and browse Bavarian Football Works. We have plenty of stuff to keep you satisfied. Why not start with our special-edition preview podcast of the game? Check it out below or at this link.