Preview: FC Bayern München – Borussia Dortmund

Justin Separator March 29, 2018

Klopp against van Gaal, Heynckes and Guardiola. Tuchel against Guardiola. In the last ten years, Bayern against Dortmund has always been shaped by the coaches. The national team has also clearly carried the signature of the two clubs that shaped the Bundesliga like no other during this period. But as is the case in life, everything comes to an end.

Although BVB and the Münchners could not be more different, they are both at a similar stage of development. In a classic drama, the duels between Jürgen Klopp and Louis van Gaal would be described as a rising story. The high point for the Dortmund side is the double of 2012, for the Bayern side the triple of 2013. From a neutral perspective, the entire period from 2012 to 2014 was probably the absolute peak of emotions. Never before have two German teams played such a fast and attractive football.

In drama, the slowing moment is the moment that delays the catastrophe. From a tactical perspective, the time of Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola does not quite fit in perfectly here, but it can certainly be described as a kind of extension of the climax. Now, however, both clubs are finally in a downward spiral. Their goal is to prevent disaster and start a new beginning.

Transition coach or long-term solution?

And in this aspect the two clubs are not so different. After Peter Bosz failed to successfully implement his offensive and courageous strategy, Peter Stöger took over with a completely new approach. The former Köln man wanted to stabilize the wobbly defensive.

A simple statistical comparison gives a first impression of whether he has succeeded. Under Peter Bosz, the Dortmunders scored 10 goals from 85 shots in the first 10 games. However, BVB did allow some very high quality chances against Hanover, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Augsburg.

In the early stages of the season they were often stable against weaker opponents, but it must also be remembered that the self-confidence of the Dortmunders was very high as a result. In the same 10 games under Peter Stöger, 122 shots were allowed, but only 9 goals were scored.

The interrelationships are easily explained. If you look at the shooting positions of the opponents in the first and second half of the season and compare them, you will find at least 4 very good chances in almost every game during the Bosz period. Stögers BVB has also had serious problems defending the penalty area against Cologne, Gladbach and Frankfurt, but there is still the impression that the quality of the permitted chances has decreased on average.

Peter Stöger has thus at least partially succeeded in stabilizing the situation for the time being. Likewise the results have proved him right for the time being, though the slump in the first half of the season came much later. For Borussia Dortmund the question is now quite simply whether a more defensively stable presence is enough to make Stöger a long-term solution.

From the beginning it was fervently debated whether the Austrian was nothing more than Heynckes is for Bayern, and after the season would already be history again. The problems for the Dortmunders meanwhile lie in the fact that they are no longer the number two in Germany in terms of football and sport. It could even be discussed whether they are still among the favourites for the Champions League places despite the results.

In the game structure there are no solutions to free themselves from well-organized pressing, and the paths into the attacking third seem more accidental than deliberate. Creativity in the attacking third is also restricted to the individual class of the squad. Götze, the entertainingly fit Reus, a reinvigorated Schürrle and Batshuayi, who are expected to leave the club in the summer, were the building blocks for danger, not an ingeniously devised tactical route.

BVB is facing yet another upheaval. Many decisions will be made now and in the summer. It will then be decided where the future of Bayern’s toughest competitor in the recent past will take them. From the record champion’s point of view, one can only hope that both the search for coaches and management planning will work well enough to make the Dortmunders stronger again. After all, it’s not the coach who’s to blame. Both the management structure and the psychological aspects following last year’s accident must not be ignored when investigating the causes.

Championship celebration against Borussia Dortmund?

Duels with FC Bayern in particular, always have their appeal. Even if they’re both in a transitional phase. In their first meeting with Stögers BVB, Bayern had no major problems at first. Dortmund moved poorly, so they could not get a grip on their own coverage. The Münchner’s were able to make good use of this. At halftime a clear lead would have been deserved.

But as it so often has been this season, they did not manage to maintain their performance for the full match. So they invited BVB back into the game, and in the end they were lucky that there was no extra time. It was a curious game that showed that the Bavarians only had to flex their biceps a little to dominate their former top competitor. However, it also showed that tur is no longer sufficient.

On the weekend there is enough motivation. Winning the championship at home against Borussia Dortmund would be a beautiful thing. Since 2000, the Bavarians have always celebrated the cup away from home. They’ve never managed it in the Allianz Arena. This time there could be a perfect landing if Schalke 04 leaves points at home against Freiburg, and Dortmund is defeated.

Statistically, however, the Bavarians have never managed to beat BVB three times in one season. In sporting terms, the chance may never have been greater than now. The structural and individual weaknesses at Borussia are more pronounced than the 12 match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga under Stöger would suggest, especially under pressure.

Bayern, on the other hand, have not been dominating the league lately either. After the international break, the operating system has to be restarted, but the crucial away game with Sevilla is on Tuesday’s program. Heynckes once again has a choice between saving his most important players for this game or warming them up for the Champions League.

Not an easy decision, but the latter option seems the most likely. Especially against the compact Dortmunders Heynckes can simulate what his team expects on Tuesday, although the level in the Champions League will clearly surpass that of BVB. In both games, however, it will be important to create overwhelming situations and shift to the dangerous wing players as late as possible so that they can find their place. Who Heynckes puts on the offensive side for this match is probably the big question.

James and Müller have been irreplaceable lately. Ribéry has made too many mistakes in his play and Robben has only recently returned to team training. The midfield line-up could also be exciting. Thiago was convincing again for the national team and no manager at FC Bayern will voluntarily do without a fit Martínez. After their performances prior to the international break, Ribéry, Robben and Vidal are likely to fight for a starting spot. Sounds funny, but it’s true.

Martínez in front of the defence, Thiago on the Eight. Heynckes once put Robben on the bench in the triple year to let Kroos and Müller play. The situation could be similar with James and Müller. Ribéry stays on the left. Vidal, whose power and dynamism could be particularly important in the away game against Sevilla, might be left out, but who is Heynckes putting on the bench?

We may be cleverer against Dortmund. In any case, it is not to be expected that Bayern will voluntarily give away this last rehearsal. It all counts now. Week after week and day after day, they must now become stronger, more confident and simply better all round. The critical phase of the season begins, the squad is largely healthy and the goals are clearly defined. FC Bayern can at least make a good start to the season finale against Borussia Dortmund – and perhaps they can even toast the sixth consecutive championship title. In view of the tasks on Tuesday, however, we will only be using the refreshing drink “Spezi”, which is preferred in parts of the Miasanrot editorial team.

Note: If you want to find out about the history of both clubs: an interview from 5 years ago is the perfect way to free yourself from stereotypical thinking about both. Dieter Schulze-Marmeling talks about the history of FC Bayern and BVB.

Fan Tip

In the fan tip one of our readers or a guest types the outcome of the game. Three points are awarded for the right tip and one point for the right tendency (win, draw, defeat). This is then compared with a tip from the Miasanrot editorial team. At the end of the season it will become clear whether the invited fans have scored more points than the editorial staff.

Our guest this week is Jan Bux. He is an honorary coach of an U17 in Leverkusen (SV Bergfried Leverkusen), and enjoys tweeting about sports, especially soccer.

Jan: Bavaria against Dortmund, Heynckes against Stöger and so on… Some want to become champions next week, others want to keep the points cushion on fifth place. Even if the Dortmunders’ ideas leave something to be desired, it will by no means be an easy game for Bayern. Even without Reus and Kagawa, Dortmund will remain difficult to beat for Bayern.

Like their last match in the cup, Dortmund are probably counting on a 4-2-3-1, which was more effective than the chain of five Stöger tried out at the time. If you research the statistics from the game and review the game in hindsight, Dortmund was by no means without a chance. I expect a similar game on Saturday evening. Heynckes will certainly be rotating in view of the Champions League. However, it can be assumed that a powerful team with a dominant style of play will be selected. And that will be the challenge of Bayern: to dominate a lurking Dortmund team.

Tip: 2:1 For Bayern

Justin: Bayern will control the game from the start and score two quick goals. Whether they will add a third at halftime will decide whether it will be exciting again. My bet is a safe 3:1, with the Munich team thinking of Sevilla from the 60th minute on.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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