Our match of the week in Europe features a clash between the top two clubs in the German Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. Defending champions Bayern Munich has not skipped a beat under new manager (and former Barcelona manager) Pep Guardiola, and is coming off a record-setting 37 consecutive matches without a loss. But Dortmund finds itself only four points behind despite suffering a rash of injuries and is unbeaten in its last six Bundesliga matches versus Bayern (although Bayern did beat Dortmund in both the Champions League and DFB-Pokal finals last season).
Both managers come with impressive resumes. Ever since taking over Dortmund in 2008, Jurgen Klopp has won two Bundesliga titles (2011 and 2012), the DFB-Pokal Cup (2012) and the DFL-Supercup in 2013 as well as German Football Manager of the Year in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile Pep Guardiola took over as Bayern manager following a year’s sabbatical. Before that he enjoyed a four-year managerial run at Barcelona that few can equal in terms of success (14 titles won).
These are the top two defenses in the Bundesliga in terms of goals allowed. Dortmund’s 11 goals conceded in 12 matches played is second to Munich’s seven. It’s pretty amazing how stingy Dortmund has been considering how injuries have decimated their defense. All four starters at the back are currently out, with Neven Subotic and Mats Hummel gone for the season. This where Bayern’s resources and depth gives them the advantage here. Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng and company should be fit and ready to go. Another advantage for Munich is that they have the Manuel Neuer to cover up any lapses by the defenders. If the 6’4″ German national keeper is not the best in the world at his position, he is rapidly gaining ground!
Edge: Bayern Munich
This is how Dortmund is able to compensate for all the injuries on defense. Their 32 league goals are tops in the Bundesliga – five more than Bayern. Striker Robert Lewandowski leads the league with nine goals and has been quite a riddle for Bayern Munich to solve. He’s never lost against Bayern (which explains why he’ll likely be joining them in January – if you can’t beat them sign them to your team). But the Dortmund attack is more than just the 25-year old Polish striker. German international Marco Reus and new striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have scored seven goals apiece, and when you add the playmaker in Nuri Sahin and attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan helping the strikers upfront, we are talking about one of the top attacking sides in Europe. However don’t sell Bayern Munich short. Mario Mandzukic is a prolific striker, already with eight league goals. Thomas Muller and Claudio Pizarro adds depth and talent up front. The key to Bayern’s offense is out wide, but although Arjen Robben is expected to play, Franck Ribery has been ruled out with a rib injury – a huge blow for Munich! Another big loss for Munich will be midfielser Bastian Schweinsteiger, the heart and soul of the team.
Edge: Borussia Dortmund
The sidenote of this derby is the return of former Dortmund midfielder Mario Goetze to the Westfalenstadion. Dortmund fans have not forgiven the talented 21-year old for leaving to join their club’s biggest rival and he should expect a very bitter reception from the home supporters. He has said that he understands that the crowd will react very negatively towards him, How he handles his emotions this weekend could well be the biggest key of the match.
I cannot overlook Dortmund’s injuries on defense. How can you compete against a club with the firepower that Bayern possesses with basically your defensive starters all out injured? This does not look good for Dortmund.
Result: Borussia Dortmund 1 (Lewandoksi) – Bayern Munich 2 (Robben, Mandzukic)
Who will win our European Football Match of the Week?
- Borussia Dortmund (50%, 1 Votes)
- Bayern Munich (50%, 1 Votes)
- Draw (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 2