When Jupp Heynckes took charge of Bayern Munich, it was after one of their worst starts to a season ever. Carlo Ancelotti had drowned the ambition of the players with his negligence and one can only imagine the despair Heynckes felt when he stepped through the door at Säbener Strasse.
The way he’s turned things around however, is nothing short of spectacular and has been downplayed by many due to their bad start to the season. When Heynckes took charge, many expected nothing less than pure winning mentality, as we have seen before from the exact same man. The purity of his actions, his choices and his tactics as well as his apparent passion for the club and the sport, has turned things around for the Bavarian’s and they somehow lead Borussia Dortmund by three points by doing the very same thing they always do.
Bayern are experts at winning games. They have always been and will always be experts of winning. That’s why they are the Rekordmeister of German football. They have also always been the monument of the notion that a good defence wins you titles. And Bayern have the best defence in the league.
A good defence however, is a thing that Borussia Dortmund do not have. At the start of this season, many fans were worried and rightly so. The pure naivety from Peter Bosz to not strengthen the defence one bit was going to come back to bite them. However, after their fantastic attacking and defensive display during the first two months of the season, that notion and prediction was horribly easy to doubt.
Borussia Dortmund are experts at playing very good football and are perhaps a better football team at this moment than their rivals at the top, Bayern. However, Bayern are better at winning games and this is mainly down to two things: their winning mentality and their defence. Because it’s one thing to slaughter Borussia Mönchengladbach at home, but it’s a sign of real strength to go to a tough away game and come away with all three points after a horrible performance. What Borussia showed this weekend was, apart from Bosz’ stubbornness, that the winning mentality just isn’t there.
Many would claim that winning mentality is what separates the best teams from the rest. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus are all perfect examples of teams that win games other teams don’t due to their experience and pure mentality. Going to an extremely tough away game, like Juventus in Milan last weekend, the mentality becomes apparent. This weekend, Bayern are going to face their rivals at the top, Borussia Dortmund, away at the boiling pot of yellow and black in southern Dortmund.
While many think there are bigger games in German football than Der Klassiker, none are bigger footballing speaking than this one. The two best teams in the last ten years of German football, the niche we all love and cherish, go head to head at one of the most iconic stadiums of the 21st century with two of the best fan-bases ever behind them.
This clash is something extraordinary, something special and the event that twice a season lights up the often Bayern-dominated Bundesliga to the non-connoisseurs of the very same. This is the game that once made Bundesliga go fully global and it’s the one clash that attracts most people in the German football sphere of human life on this planet.
It’s Borussia Dortmund, arguably best team at playing football, versus Bayern Munich, undoubtedly the best team at winning football matches. It’s an ideological battle and it’s a battle on the pitch between the best attack and the best defence, between the newcomer and the master, between yellow and red, bumblebees and Henkelpotts. Brace yourselves for something special, prepare your minds for this mind-boggling fixture.
Doubts have been raised and questions have been asked regarding Bosz choice of starting XI. Many see his set-ups as naive. It has become obvious that the pivot of Julian Weigl and Mahmoud Dahoud is a better choice than Gonzalo Castro and Nüri Sahin.
One must only wonder, why isn’t he playing Weigl and Dahoud? Is it down to fitness? Can’t be. He sees something and we’re not sure the choice is correct. Against a revitalised Bayern, they’ll need to field their best team possible. The players who are in the best form possible and Bosz must overcome his naive nature. Otherwise, the game is Bayern’s to be dominated.
By Axel Falk.