Bayern Munich could claim their 10th consecutive Meisterschaft this weekend. The celebrations will perhaps be made all the more sweeter as they get to do it in front of the team that were supposed to challenge them this season, Borussia Dortmund.
In truth, Marco Rose’s BVB side have been far from it this campaign. Their defensive mishaps and overall inconsistency has meant that the Bavarians have strolled to their historic tenth-in-a-row when they themselves haven’t been at their best this year.
If Bayern get the job done this weekend, they will surpass Juventus’ record of nine championships and hold the European record for most consecutive top-flight titles.
To make Dortmund’s task seem even more challenging, they have lost their last seven competitive matches against Bayern and have a number of first-team players out with either injuries or illness.
In a press conference this week, Rose confirmed that Dortmund’s number one goalkeeper, Gregor Kobel and experienced midfielder Axel Witsel were the latest to head to the treatment room and miss the clash with Bayern.
However, there is reason to believe from a BVB perspective. Earlier this season, they narrowly lost to Bayern 3-2 thanks to silly defensive mistakes once again. If Rose’s men can stand firm for 90 minutes and keep the pressure on Julian Nagelsmann’s side, there is no reason why they can’t get something from the game.
Additionally, Bayern have frailties of their own. Only recently did Spain’s Villarreal show that when they dumped they surprisingly dumped the Bavarians out of the Champions League.
BVB must take encouragement from that and maybe even replicate Villarreal’s tactics in their own performance.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of the game, Rose made his game plan clear: “We want to try to prevent that. That’s the task, that’s the goal.”
From a Bayern point of view, they’ve fallen short of their own high standards this term. They will always expect themselves to win the Bundesliga and at the same time go far in the DFB Pokal and Europe.
Having already mentioned their shortcoming in the Champions League, Nagelsmann’s side were humiliated in the DFB Pokal earlier this season when they were thrashed 5-0 at the hands of Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Regardless, Bayern are the clear favourites and will be expected to wrap up the title in front of their home crowd this weekend. Ahead of the game, Nagelsmann has played down what many believe to be a one-sided affair and has instead praised his opponents.
The Bayern coach explained that Dortmund’s “season isn’t so wrong,” and that they are “much more stable than recent years.”
Nagelsmann concluded by keeping his game tactics close to his chest when talking about how to beat Dortmund’s formation: “Always in a structure up front that is not easy to defend. I won’t say how now, otherwise they will change it. We have to be careful because they have a clear counterattack.”
The last of the season’s Klassiker is all about postponing the inevitable from a Dortmund point-of-view.
For Bayern, it’s about putting in a performance to show Dortmund that they have a long way to go before catching up with the country’s best.