Der Klassiker: DW′s predictions for Dortmund vs. Bayern | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 09.11.2018
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Der Klassiker: DW's predictions for Dortmund vs. Bayern

Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich in a potentially decisive Bundesliga clash on Saturday. Bayern will fall seven points behind their opponents with a defeat. Here's how our sports reporters see it panning out.

Jonathan Harding - It's Dortmund's time

Dortmund last beat Bayern in the league at home late in 2016. Since then, Bayern have been rampant, winning the last three fixtures with 13 goals scored and just two conceded. And yet, this season the hosts are favorites.

BVB's furious attacking unit looks set to feast on a Bayern team short of form and confidence. Even if Lucien Favre's side take 45 minutes to warm up, they eventually find another gear - and in spectacular fashion too. On the other hand, it is remarkable to see a Bayern side still full of quality look so bereft on the pitch.

Favre has made this Dortmund side better, while Niko Kovac seems to have stalled in his attempts to improve Bayern. However haunting playing Bayern has been for Dortmund in recent seasons, this is a different, younger, brasher team. Defeat to Atletico wasn't ideal preparation, nor was the manner of the performance but perhaps losing their first game of the seasonwill focus minds. At home, it really should be BVB's turn to be frightening.

Prediction: 3-0 Dortmund

Matt Pearson - Lewandowski to make Bayern's point

When was the last time Bayern Munich were truly convincing? The answer is probably at the end of September, when a 2-0 away win over Schalke made it seven in a row for Niko Kovac.

Despite that, Bayern are top of their Champions League group, in to the last 16 of the German Cup and will be a point away from the Bundesliga summit with a win on Saturday night, following five wins and a draw in their last six games. But that outcome is as far from assured as its been for some time. Kovac’s charges have looked old, lumpen and short of ideas in recent weeks.

In contrast, Dortmund’s rapid, vibrant side has swarmed and scored their way to the top, winning plaudits along the way. The midweek loss to in Madrid carries no shame but victories over Wolfsburg and Union Berlin and home draw against Hertha suggest this BVB side are far from the finished product and they've had just one shot on target in their last two games. Bayern will look to control possession and bring the game down to their pace while Robert Lewandowski will fancy his chances against a young, injury-hit backline. They’ll do enough to stay in touch.

Prediction: 1-1.

Niko Kovac is yet to fully convince at Bayern (imago/Lackovic)

Niko Kovac is yet to fully convince at Bayern

Janek Speight - Bayern still capable of 'doing a Bayern'

To win the Bundesliga title you have to defeat Bayern Munich. That's been the case on five of the last six occasions a challenger has managed to prise the championship from the Bavarians' grasp in the past 22 years. Lucien Favre has Dortmund purring, with a team built on youth and pace leading the domestic table and raising hopes of a Bundesliga title challenge. But we've been here before.

In Thomas Tuchel's first season, Dortmund went into Der Klassiker on a unbeaten run of seven games. A 5-1 defeat at the Allianz showed them who was boss. Last season it was Peter Bosz's turn, swept aside 3-1 at home to all but bury any hope of a title challenge by Gameweek 11 after a promising start.

This season feels different but Bayern are known for turning up in big games, Dortmund less so. Whether it's a scrappy 90th minute goal, a debatable penalty, an opposition howler, or a deserved trouncing, Bayern always find a way. Victory would see Dortmund's lead begin to look precarious and talk of a Bavarian crisis diminish. This could prove a crucial turning point in the season.

Prediction: 2-1 Bayern Munich

Mark Hallam - Write Bayern off at your peril

There's no denying that the Bundesliga needs a changing of the guard after six straight Bayern titles. But let's not confuse what ought to be and what is. Yes, Dortmund have been scintillating and Bayern soporific thus far.

But it's only November. It's telling that for the Bavarians, a nightmare start to the season constitutes notching 20 points from 10 games. When Dortmund last started a season poorly, in Jürgen Klopp's last year in charge, they occupied the relegation zone during the winter break.  The two clubs' relative expectations remain poles apart, precisely because Bayern remain the most powerful and wealthiest side in Germany by a long way.

As refreshing as the start to the first truly competitive Bundesliga season in years has been, don't mistake it for the end of an era just yet. Doing that would be almost as absurd as calling a press conference especially to whine about the negative press coverage of Bayern's season so far. Nobody would be so petty or premature, surely?

Prediction: 2-2

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