The two German heavyweights go head to head in the German Bundesliga this weekend but the match doesn’t quite have the significance it has done so in previous meetings between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Due to Jurgen Klopp’s side dramatic slide this campaign, Dortmund are an astonishing 31 points behind Munich in 10th place.
The Bundesliga title looks once again to be wrapped up by Munich but places for the final Champions League and Europa League spots is spicing up whilst the relegation battle is the closest it has been for a number of years.
Dortmund v Bayern Munich
Dortmund have been extremely poor by their usual high standards and a Champions League knockout defeat has left them with just the Bundesliga to contend with. However, unlike previous seasons, Dortmund aren’t at the top end of the table challenging for Germany’s biggest honour. The history between these two of recent years has intensified to an all-time high because of the transfers of Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski to Bayern from Dortmund.
Marco Reus was highly linked with a move to Germany’s most successful club but he recently put pen to paper and committed his long term future to Dortmund. It was greatly received by the Dortmund fans and the forward recently scored in Germany’s 2-0 win over Georgia. He’ll be partnered in attack by Pierre Emerick Aubameyang as they look to find a way past a defence that has conceded just 13 goals this season.
Munich are without Arjen Robben who is currently injured and his absence was evident in their recent 2-0 defeat at home to Borussia Monchengladbach which marked their first home defeat since Dortmund won 3-0 at the Allianz Arena in April 2014. David Alaba is also a major doubt for the crunch clash as he picked up a knee injury in Austria’s 1-1 draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina that means his involvement in serious jeopardy.
Hoffenheim v Borussia Monchengladbach
Hoffenheim can take a lot of confidence from the fact that they’re unbeaten in 8 home matches against their visitors on Saturday. 6 wins and 2 draws against ‘Gladbach stands them in good stead but they face a much improved side this time around and Hoffenheim’s scouts will be ferociously scribbling down notes after watching ‘Gladbach’s magnificent 2-0 victory on Bayern Munich’s home turf.
Thorgan Hazard has been in stunning form on his loan agreement from Chelsea and the Belgian is a slight doubt with a foot injury but he is likely to recover in time to face Hoffenheim. Other than Hazard’s injury concerns, manager Lucien Favre has a full strength side to pick from and it is unlikely that he will deviate too much from the 11 that won so impressively in Munich before the international break. Hoffenheim defender Nicklas Sule is a long time absentee for them and he’ll be out for the rest of the season. Kevin Volland has a slight calf injury which makes him touch and go for the Gladbach game.
Wolfsburg v Stuttgart
Wolfsburg weren’t quite at the races in their previous encounter against Mainz where a poor performance earned them a 1-1 draw. Boss Dieter Hecking rang a double change at half time with Ivan Perisic and Vieirinha both being introduced and both players are likely to start from the off against basement side, Stuttgart.
Stuttgart are enduring a very poor season and will hope their latest victory over Eintracht Frankfurt can spark some sort of run to take them out of the relegation zone where they’ve been for the majority of the season.
The home side are unlikely to take Stuttgart lightly and there is surely going to be recalls for Bas Dost and Ricardo Rodriguez who didn’t feature at all at Mainz. Dost’s form for Wolfsburg this season earned him a call up to the Holland squad where he featured in the 1-1 draw with Turkey and 2-0 victory over Spain. It has been just over a year since Wolfsburg last lost at home in the German Bundesliga so fully expect them to continue their impressive form at the Volkswagen Arena.