Dortmund vs Bayern: The battle for Germany's No. 1

File Photo : Dortmund vs Bayern
IANS|09-Nov-2018 18:13

Dortmund (Germany), Nov 9 : The German Clasico is enthralling football fans across Europe. Both sets of supporters can't wait for the battle of the country's top two teams to kick off in the Dortmund arena this Saturday evening.

The duel will not only decide bragging rights but to some extent the destiny of the 2018/2019 German league championship, reports Xinhua.

When the revived Borussia Dortmund crosses swords with Bayern Munich, the reigning German champion, an exciting evening of football seems guaranteed.

Dortmund has the chance to putting some distance between themselves and the Bavarians as they could open up a seven-point gap with a win. The record German champions could on the other hand reduce the four-point deficit to only one and turn around a so far unsatisfying season.

Dortmund have an excellent opportunity of ending Bayern's winning streak of six league titles in a row.

Statistics indicate a one-sided game. Dortmund is the big favourite after scoring 30 goals in 10 league games while Munich has only managed 18. While Borussia remains unbeaten in the Bundesliga, Bayern is in the middle of a real crisis.

But are things as clear as they seem?

Bayern president Uli Hoeness started playing mind games by saying, "this time Dortmund is the favourite. We're only the underdogs." This is contrast to the statements of players like Mats Hummels and Manuel Neuer.

Hummels spoke of a "duel between equals." Neuer emphasized: "We are FC Bayern, we don't have to hide."

Fact is, despite suffering their first defeat of the season (2-0 in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid) after 15 games, Dortmund has successfully managed to rejuvenate its squad. The team is carrying out the tactics of Swiss coach Lucien Favre and is playing a dynamic attacking game.

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While Bayern is still trying to find a balanced team with a hierarchy, Dortmund developed a core made up of goalkeeper Roman Buerki, playmaking defensive midfielders Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel and captain Marco Reus plus the promising and pacy youngsters like Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic and Jacob Bruun Larsen.

No other team has taken "gegenpressing" (German for "counter pressing") more to heart than Dortmund. Since former Borussia coach and current Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp implemented the demanding and risky style "of winning the ball back right after losing it", Dortmund has dedicated itself to "gegenpressing" by pushing high up the pitch and hunting for the ball.

In comparison, Bayern tries to dominate the game but is at the same time trying to develop more speed as pace is seen as the only appropriate tool in modern football to beat defensively orientated teams.

While Dortmund has scored six of its 30 goals from counter attacks, Bayern has only managed one goal after quickly turning defense into attack. On top, substitutes have ten goals of Borussia's goals - Bayern only two.

Bayern's squad still contains enough experience to beat Dortmund, said new coach Niko Kovac who seems to have found the right position for Thomas Mueller. The German international will operate in midfield right behind the front line and support spearhead Robert Lewandowski.

Having to replace the injured Thiago, Rafinha, Coman and Tolisso, the Spaniard Javi Martinez is shoring up the defense while James Rodriguez, Serge Gnabry and Franck Ribery are responsible for providing the attacking impulses.

Optimism is growing in Munich as they have won 10 of the last 19 clashes. Dortmund won five and the other four ended in a draw.