There are a number of football matches that grab world-wide attention whenever they are played. Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich is one of those.
And certainly in Germany, it gets no bigger than Der Klassiker, especially if it is – as it is this time again – a top of the table clash that would allow the home side to climb above Bayern with a victory.
Going into the game, Bayern are on 31 points – one ahead of their rivals. Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen are already seven points behind the Bavarian giants.
Both Dortmund and Bayern achieved morale-boosting victories on the weekend – Bayern struggling at home to a 1-0 victory against Arminia Bielefeld, while Dortmund won 3-1 at Wolfsburg.
The most important aspect of the Dortmund victory though, was the return of Erling Haaland, who played his first game since September 19, having missed more than a month after injuring his hip flexor.
The 21-year-old, who came on as a late substitute, scored his side’s third goal to take his Bundesliga tally to an incredible 50 goals from 50 matches – six more than any other player had scored at that stage in the history of the league.
With Haaland back in action, Der Klassiker is not only a match-up between the two top clubs in Germany, it is also a match-up between the two best strikers in Germany and possibly even currently in the world.
Dortmund against Bayern, or Haaland against Robert Lewandowski.
Despite playing in just seven matches, Haaland has found the back of the net 10 times this season, while Lewandowski has scored 14 goals from 13 matches.
Last year, Lewandowski topped the scorer charts with a sensational 41 goals from 29 matches, while Haaland was third top scorer with 27 goals from 28 matches.
Dortmund coach Marco Rose is thrilled to have the Norwegian back. “Erling gives us a lot of energy when he’s on the field. He’s a difference-maker that you cannot replace in the long run.”
That notwithstanding, Rose believes his side need to improve. “Everyone’s looking forward to Der Klassiker. Overall, we know that there are still things we want and need to keep working on.
“We need to get better if we actually want to be able to pose a real threat to Bayern. When they come to our stadium, then we obviously want to take the chance and be present.”
It was former Bayern Munich striker Mark Hughes, who said that history favours the brave, but in this case, it clearly favours his former club.
Saturday’s game in the Signal Iduna Park is the 105th Bundesliga clash between the two sides and Bayern have not only won 50 of the previous matches, with Dortmund winning 25, they also travel to their rivals on the back of a five-game winning streak.
Presumably the first player on Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann’s team list will be French international Kingsley Coman. The right winger has played in seven Bundesliga Klassiker, winning all of them!
To see whether Coman can make it eight out of eight, all you have to do is tune in to the StarTimes channels, as Africa’s leading digital TV operator will be showing the match live and in HD throughout the continent.
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