Sunday’s German Klassiker—or German Clasico if you want to follow the silly trend of the German media to use the Spanish term—between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund has dominated the football media in Germany this week. In fact, you could almost forget that both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund had other important European games this weekend.
Bayern Munich played Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday in what would be the continuation of Robert Lewandowski’s goal scoring show as he scored three goals in Munich’s 5-0 win over the Croatians—Lewandowski has now scored ten goals in 8 days (five against Wolfsburg, two against FSV Mainz, and three against Zagreb).
Lewandowski has been instrumental for Bayern’s recent run of good form, and the importance of the Polish striker was especially evident against VfL Wolfsburg and Mainz. Bayern’s first half against Wolfsburg was especially disappointing, and Wolfsburg could have easily been up by two points going into the break, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola added Lewandowski at half time after which Bayern quickly dismantled the Volkswagen club. Bayern’s first half against Mainz appeared equally lethargic, and it was not until Lewandowski’s goal in the 51st minute that Bayern woke up, and quickly tallied up another two goals for a final score 3-0.
Meanwhile in Dortmund the recent euphoria has been dampened as Borussia dropped points against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Darmstadt 98 in the last two games. Borussia’s results in fact have meant that many journalists in Germany already fear that Bayern could once again dominate the league, and easily win the title. Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung for example already declared Sunday’s encounter as the final for the German championship as a Bayern victory would see the Bavarians seven points ahead of Borussia.
It seems premature to declare the eighth round of the Bundesliga as the decisive round in the race for the German championship, and with 26 games remaining after this Sunday’s Klassiker, a Bayern victory would indeed not herald the traditional championship parade to Munich’s city hall.
Despite their first two slipups since Thomas Tuchel took over as a coach, Borussia will provide a strong challenge for Bayern at the Allianz Arena on Sunday—Tuchel now holds the starting record of any coach in Borussia history with five wins and two ties in the first seven matches. Furthermore, Dortmund easily dominated both games against Hoffenheim and Darmstadt, and under normal circumstances should have won either match easily.
Also Borussia Dortmund have their own goal scoring sensation in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Before the season kicked off Aubameyang promised that he would score 20 goals this season, he currently sits second in the goal scoring chart behind Lewandowski (ten goals) with nine goals in eight matches—his current pace means that he will easily surpass his promise of 20 goals.
Despite Aubameyang’s goal scoring progress, and Thomas Tuchel’s start record, the mood appeared sober in Dortmund. Hummels openly criticized the fact that Dortmund’s play was not clever enough to defeat Darmstadt on Sunday. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote that while both Dortmund and Bayern appear on the same level, Bayern still has that cleverness ahead of Borussia. Had Bayern been in the same situation as Dortmund they would have played on to add a third goal and put the game to rest—the Sueddeutsche Zeitung argued.
Indeed the Sueddeutsche Zeitung has a point. Last season for example Bayern had a perfect record against teams from the lower end of the table. In fact it was that perfect record that secured the Bavarians the championship as Bayern had a poor record against the top four in the Bundesliga. In the six games against Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen, and Borussia Mönchengladbach last season Bayern only managed two wins, one tie, and lost three with a goal differential of 4:9—making them last in that mini-table, in what is a wonderful argument against Premier League fans who believe that the Bundesliga is not competitive. Furthermore, Bayern also lost last year’s DFB-Pokal (German Cup) semi-final to Borussia Dortmund.
With Bayern’s recent fantastic form, and Borussia Dortmund appearing once again as the closest challenger to Bayern’s hegemony Sunday’s Klassiker should be one of the best, and is certainly a must watch for football fans around the world.
About the author – Manuel Veth