Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund face Bayern Munich examination as pressure mounts | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 02.11.2017
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Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund face Bayern Munich examination as pressure mounts

Barely three months into his reign as Borussia Dortmund coach, Peter Bosz is feeling the heat. His misfiring side are all but out of the Champions League and now face reborn league leaders Bayern Munich.

Borussia Dortmund fans were streaming for the exits long before referee Matej Jug blew for full time. When the players approached the famous 'Yellow Wall' south stand after another 1-1 draw against Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia all but sealed BVB's exit from this season's Champions League, only the oft-criticized ultras remained to offer support.

After the best league start in the club's history in which Dortmund opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga, cruise control has turned to crisis after just one win in their last six games in all competitions – away at third-division Magdeburg.

Ominously, the next visitors to the yellow side of the Ruhr region are Bayern Munich who, with six wins from six under new (and old) coach Jupp Heynckes, have overtaken Dortmund's lead in the space of just three weeks to establish a three-point advantage of their own. Come Saturday night, that could be six points.

Tactical criticism

For the first time since taking over from Thomas Tuchel, Dortmund coach Peter Bosz is facing criticism, particularly of his defensive tactics. If comprehensive Champions League defeats by Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid placed two asterisks next to Dortmund's early plus-19 Bundesliga goal difference, then the 11 goals conceded in the last five league games have transformed BVB's shaky defense from an uncomfortable footnote into a primary narrative.

Borussia Dortmund Training (Reuters/Y. Kourtoglou)

Dortmund have leaked 11 goals in the last five league games.

Bosz's belief that the Bayern Munich game "comes at the right time because expectations will be lower" will also have raised eyebrows in Dortmund, but former BVB defender and coach Matthias Sammer isn't absolving the players from blame either.

"Last season they were all [complaining] about Thomas Tuchel and now it's the coach's fault again? Isn't there a point where the players have to look at themselves in difficult situations throughout a season?" he asked, speaking to broadcaster Eurosport.

Mario Götze appeared to take responsibility, admitting after the Nicosia defeat: "Let's not kid ourselves, this is certainly not what we expect of ourselves."

Deutschland Bayern München - RB Leipzig | Jubel (picture alliance/dpa/T. Hase)

Bayern Munich are enjoying a renaissance since theb return of Jupp Heynckes as coach.

Back to basics for Bayern

In contrast, a solid defense has been the bedrock of Bayern Munich's recent resurgence as Jupp Heynckes takes the champions back to the basics. Since Heynckes' return, the Bavarians have recorded six straight wins in all competitions and are yet to concede in the league, a record that goalkeeper Sven Ulreich attributes to Javi Martinez, who Heynckes has moved forward into defensive midfield.

"Javi is brutally important," said Ulreich after the hard-fought 2-1 win over Celtic in the Champions League. "He covers lots of ground and closes down the spaces. He's strong in the tackle and is one of the main reasons our opponents create fewer chances."

Martinez himself, who was brought to Munich by Heynckes in 2012 for a then-club record €40 million, said: "I know this position well and I know I can also be a threat when I go forward."

It's in attack where Bayern do have room to improve, and Martinez' brave second-half header in Glasgow was vital in the absence of Robert Lewandowski. Bayern's only recognized out-and-out striker trained on Thursday and should be fit to face Dortmund, although Der Klassiker comes too soon for Thomas Müller, who is still recovering from a muscle injury. 

Fußball Champions League - RB Leipzig vs FC Porto Tor 1:0 (Imago/Jan Huebner)

Rb Leipzig are looking to bounce back from defeat in the Champions League.

Elsewhere on Matchday 11:

- Both RB Leipzig and Hannover have recorded impressive wins over Borussia Dortmund in recent weeks and now the two meet at the Red Bull Arena. While RB could hardly be considered a regular promoted team last season, newly promoted Hannover have surprised everyone this time around. Whoever wins here could find themselves second should Dortmund lose.

- After an impressive 3-1 win away at Hoffenheim last week, sixth-place Borussia Mönchengladbach are also looking to make further progress up the table. And having suffered a 5-1 hammering against Bayer Leverkusen in their last home game, Dieter Hecking's men will be looking to make amends in front of their own fans against Mainz on Saturday.

- Still without a win after 10 Bundesliga games, Werder Bremen parted company with coach Alexander Nouri after last week's 3-0 defeat against Augsburg. While sporting director Frank Baumann's search for a replacement continues, caretaker coach Florian Kohfeldt faces a tough start away at Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night. 

Matchday 11:

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Werder Bremen (Friday, 7:30 p.m. CET)

RB Leipzig vs. Hannover 96 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m.)
Freiburg vs. Schalke
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Mainz
Augsburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Hamburg vs. Stuttgart 
Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich (Saturday, 6:30 p.m.)

Cologne vs. Hoffenheim (Sunday, 3:30 p.m.)
Wolfsburg vs. Hertha Berlin (6:00 p.m.)

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