Bundesliga: Bayern shakes off slump before ‘‘der Klassiker’‘ in Dortmund

The two rivals are level on points after eight Bundesliga matches, but surprisingly neither team is at the top of the standings going into “der Klassiker.”

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann celebrates with Serge Gnabry and teammates after the Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen.

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann celebrates with Serge Gnabry and teammates after the Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen. | Photo Credit: MICHAELA REHLE

The two rivals are level on points after eight Bundesliga matches, but surprisingly neither team is at the top of the standings going into “der Klassiker.”

Bayern Munich appears to have shaken off its customary early-season slump just in time for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

The two rivals are level on points after eight Bundesliga matches, but surprisingly neither team is at the top of the standings going into “der Klassiker.” It’s the first time that’s happened since Wolfsburg won the title in 2009. Union Berlin is currently in first place.

Bayern’s mini-slump — a four-game run without a win before the international break — saw the Bavarian powerhouse fall down the standings, but the team has rebounded with a 4-0 rout of Bayern Leverkusen followed by a 5-0 victory over Czech champion Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League.

“We shouldn’t get carried away,” Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka said. “Still, we’re on the right path.” The former Schalke player promised Dortmund that it can expect “a highly motivated opponent” on Saturday.

Dortmund also won in the Champions League, 4-1 at Sevilla, but was fortunate the home team missed several good chances.

Dortmund lost its previous game, 3-2 at Cologne, and is already beginning to show some of the inconsistency that has plagued the team in previous seasons. That was its second league loss in three games.

After winning in Seville on Wednesday, Dortmund’s players and coach Edin Terzic were eager to focus on the positives — the good result in a hostile environment. But the glaring opportunities presented by Dortmund’s defense are cause for concern.

Dortmund doesn’t seem to have yet developed the ability to control games, evidenced by late collapses against Manchester City in the Champions League (two late goals to lose 2-1) or Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga (three late goals to lose 3-2).

“It happens again and again that we simply give away the games we control,” Terzic said after the loss in Cologne, when again his team squandered a lead.

Bayern has lost only once this season. Augsburg’s 1-0 win before the international break was the culmination of the team’s crisis. But even in the three games before, when Bayern wasn’t winning, it was still creating scoring chances, and there’s little doubt the visitors will create chances in Dortmund on Saturday.

Though it’s not a direct duel, the form of Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Bayern’s Jamal Musiala warrants a comparison. Both 19-year-old players have been outstanding for their teams this season.

Bellingham has captained Dortmund in his last two appearances in the absences of Marco Reus and Mats Hummels and he appears to be getting better with each game. Musiala is Bayern’s top scorer in the Bundesliga with five goals.

Bayern has won its last seven league meetings with Dortmund by a combined score of 23-7. If Dortmund wants to stop the Bavarian club from claiming a record-extending 11th consecutive title, this would be a good place to start.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :
Download Sportstar App
Download Sportstar App
 Pen, Paper and Podcast with Vijay Lokapally
Connect With Us