Bayern travel to North Rhine-Westphalia to face Borussia Dortmund. Despite BVB’s iffy form of late, nothing short of a full-strength lineup will be enough.
For all the hype that usually surrounds the so-called der Klassiker, this might be an odd one. Bayern is yet to lose a game after appointing Jupp Heynckes for his fourth spell in charge. Meanwhile, Dortmund have failed to win in their last five games. Two draws against APOEL Nicosia in this period have them on the verge of Champions League elimination.
However, we can expect Bayern to field a strong lineup. Heynckes is certainly not taking any chances in light of BVB’s nosedive. He said in the press conference that “Borussia Dortmund have a competitive team. Tomorrow, they will try to look different to how they looked lately”. Heynckes reiterated the importance of maintaining the winning streak. As such, he will likely return to a 4-2-3-1:
Robert Lewandowski trained well and will return to be the focal point in attack. Heynckes said he has no problems and “is very motivated for tomorrow”. James Rodríguez will play in the CAM position, while Arjen Robben and Kingsley Coman occupy the flanks.
The engine room
Thiago Alcântara and Javi Martínez will pair up in central/defensive midfield. Heynckes heaped praise on Martínez in the press conference, saying that he is “a crucial player in our system. You need players like him today”. Meanwhile, Thiago did not start against Celtic. This serves as an indication that he was rested for the big game against Dortmund.
Mats Hummels was also rested against Celtic, and is expected to pair with Jérôme Boateng in central defence. As with Martínez, Heynckes had very nice things to say about Hummels, saying that he is “exactly the type of centre-back I would like to have in my team”. David Alaba and Rafinha will line up as full-backs, as Joshua Kimmich was ruled out of the game with an upset stomach.
Sven Ulreich. He has shown great form after Heynckes’ return, having conceded three goals in six games. By comparison, he had conceded seven goals in the three games prior to the fourth coming. His confidence and ability on the ball have improved as well. Ulreich also chipped in with an assist against Celtic for Coman’s first goal.