Der Klassiker: DW′s Bundesliga reporters′ predictions for Bayern vs.Dortmund | Bundesliga | DW | 06.04.2017
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Der Klassiker: DW's Bundesliga reporters' predictions for Bayern vs.Dortmund

Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga's headline clash, with Bayern looking to avoid back-to-back league defeats for the first time since May 2015. Here's how our sports reporters see it working out.

Jonathan Harding - Key absentees will hurt Bayern

Bayern Munich will still win the title even if they lose to Dortmund, but after a midweek defeat to Hoffenheim, another loss could prove costly for the momentum that was halted abruptly on Tuesday.

Back at home in a fixture the Bundesliga clings to for international recognition, Carlo Ancelotti will want to make sure his side don't face Real Madrid on Wednesday off the back of successive defeats. It seems unlikely that Thomas Mueller or Manuel Neuer will play and there's every chance Thiago could be rested - and even Bayern suffer without their biggest players. 

Thomas Tuchel voiced his concern at his side's inability to take chances in close games this season but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored one more than Robert Lewandowski (in two fewer games too). Dortmund's attack is enough to scare anyone in Europe, their concerns are at the other end of the pitch. Being without Erik Durm will make Dortmund's task of containing Bayern's wingers harder, but if captain Marcel Schmelzer, previously in such good form, returns from injury to join Sokratis', who returns from suspension then they'll be competitive.

For Bayern this game is perfect preparation for their main focus next week. BVB could probably have done without facing Bayern as they pursue a direct Champions League qualifying spot, but it does provide them with a chance to get a closer look ahead of their German Cup semifinal in Munich at the end of the month. Bayern need to get their groove back, Dortmund would love to do the league double over the Bavarians.

Prediction: Bayern 1-1 Dortmund

 

Matt Pearson - Bayern's big game mentality will prove decisive

The 15-point lead Bayern have over Dortmund is no fluke. One loss to an impressive Hoffenheim side, at a point in the season where the champions' focus is starting to switch to bigger challenges, doesn't detract from the fact that - right now - Saturday's hosts have better players, more experience and the mentality of serial winners.

Dortmund's stable of youngsters is the envy of Europe and, in the unlikely event they hold on to the best of them, they could challenge Bayern's domestic superiority in the long term. But right now it's hard to tell which Dortmund is going to turn up - the one that brushed aside Benfica and Hamburg or the one that lost to Darmstadt and Hertha Berlin.

Fußball Bundesliga FC Bayern München - FC Augsburg

Robert Lewandowski has been in fine form for Bayern of late

Their reliance on Aubameyang is also a concern. The Gabonese striker has scored 43 per cent of his team's league goals and the profligacy demonstrated by BVB's other players has clearly frustrated Tuchel. It seems increasingly that if you stop Aubameyang, you stop Dortmund. While Lewandowski is also critical to Bayern's chances their percentage, he's got 36 per cent of their goals, Bayern have more goal threats all over the pitch. Bayern have conceded just five goals at the Allianz Arena and remain unbeaten at home this season - the second part of that sentence won't change on Saturday.

Prediction: Bayern 2- 1 Dortmund

 

Matt Ford - Tuesday's defeat will be the perfect wake-up call for Bayern

In Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic, Dortmund's potency up front is undeniable - but chance conversion has become a serious issue. A lack of ruthlessness away at Benfica in the Champions League gave them an unnecessary mountain to climb in the return leg, and they paid the price for not building on their lead against Schalke. It was a similar story against Hamburg in the week. Despite his goals, Aubameyang is the main culprit and Dortmund will be punished for such profligacy on Saturday.

Before Tuesday's deserved defeat to Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich had won their previous five games by a combined score of 21 goals to nil. It was almost becoming too easy - not ideal preparation for such a vital month with includes meetings with Borussia Dortmund in league and cup plus Real Madrid home and away. Tuesday was a timely wake-up call.

Deutschland DFL Supercup Borussia Dortmund vs FC Bayern München Zweikampf (Getty Images/Bongarts/O. Hardt)

Dortmund's last league visit to the Allianz Arena resulted in a 5-1 humiliation.

Carlo Ancelotti was brought in to win the Champions League and his priorities were clear when he made seven changes to his team in Sinsheim. Expect youngsters such Renato Sanches and Kingsley Coman to make way as Ancelotti relies on experience. Thomas Müller may not be fit but Xabi Alonso, Arturo Vidal, Thiago, Philipp Lahm and Franck Ribery could all start.

"We now know that we are not half as strong when we are passive and hesitant," said Mats Hummels following Tuesday's game and you can be sure that there will be absolutely no complacency from Bayern on Saturday. They've been here before - their season starts now.

Prediction: Bayern 3-1 Dortmund

 

Michael Da Silva - Returning Thiago will inspire Bayern

The secret to Carlo Ancelotti's sustained success over the years has been his ability to galvanize his players for the biggest games. Saturday's Klassiker will be Bayern's second match of a run of three in eight days and, with the greatest respect to Hoffenheim who thoroughly deserved their win in midweek, that's the one game Ancelotti would have chosen to lose. With Wednesday's Champions League blockbuster against Real Madrid also on the horizon, Ancelotti had to rotate.

Deutschland Bundesliga Bayern München vs RB Leipzig (Getty Images/AFP/C. Stache)

Thiago has been one of the best midfielders in Europe this season.

At Hoffenheim Ancelotti rested Thiago, who has arguably been the best midfielder in Europe this season and unarguably the best in the Bundesliga.

He has been the perfect foil to his compatriot Xabi Alonso in the center of Bayern's midfield and, while Renato Sanches was somewhat unfairly made the scapegoat for the loss at Rhein-Neckar-Arena, that was perhaps testament to how brilliantly influential Thiago has become and why Bayern are on the verge of offering him a new deal that would make him one of the best paid players in the world. Expect the returning Spaniard to boost Bayern, as well as Philipp Lahm and Franck Ribery who were both on the bench in midweek.

Bayern may have lost the last Klassiker but Ancelotti has now found his feet in the Bundesliga and this should be a very different game to the one Dortmund won in November.

Prediction: Bayern 2-0 Dortmund

 

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