DORTMUND, Germany — Throughout a information convention on Friday forward of Saturday’s conflict in opposition to Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund’s press officer Sascha Fligge mentioned: “We have got over 400 media representatives right here tomorrow, the match will probably be televised reside in 200 nations.”
There isn’t any disgrace in taking satisfaction as a Dortmund official that this match features numerous consideration throughout the globe. After all of the Black and Yellow labored very exhausting to get right into a place the place a match in opposition to the German powerhouse wears its personal branding. Der Klassiker is a time period that was established in 2013 when either side met within the Champions League ultimate after Dortmund had the sting for 2 seasons within the Bundesliga in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Since then, the rivalry between BVB and Bayern has seen many epic clashes, particularly in numerous German cup matches. Nevertheless, due to Bayern’s crushing dominance within the Bundesliga since 2012, the league fixture hardly was ever greater than a separate occasion totally missing the context of a title race Bundesliga followers are craving for.
At first of November, it appears to be like as if the title-race narrative is as soon as once more slipping out of Dortmund’s fingers.
When Jupp Heynckes was appointed as Carlo Ancelotti’s substitute in the beginning of October, he predicted that it will be exhausting for his workforce to catch the Ruhr facet. BVB had been boasting a five-point benefit over Bayern within the desk after racking up six wins and one attract seven video games.
The desk has turned for BVB — actually — since Heynckes’ completely executed reverse-jinx. Because the final worldwide break, Dortmund have solely overwhelmed third-tier facet FC Magdeburg within the German cup in six video games. Within the Bundesliga, they had been dealt two losses and one draw and noticed reinvigorated Bayern take the lead after 10 matchdays.
In fact, Dortmund by no means tried to speak up their possibilities of profitable the league in these early days. Quite the opposite, CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke mentioned it will take a miracle for his workforce to have the ability to compete with Bayern over the course of a complete season, anticipating that the introduction of Peter Bosz as Thomas Tuchel’s successor would carry setbacks sooner or later all through the season.
However nonetheless, it should sting to have thrown a lead away like BVB did to a Bayern facet that aren’t enjoying on the identical heights as in earlier years. Within the greater image that should be much more demoralising and will as soon as once more be one other argument for Dortmund’s most prized belongings to hunt for greener pastures in the summertime.
So sure, the stakes are excessive for Bosz and his workforce on Saturday evening. Dortmund should not solely preventing to maintain up with Bayern Munich within the desk but additionally for their very own sense of competitiveness.
That sense has already taken a large blow after Wednesday’s 1-1 residence draw in opposition to Champions League minnows Apoel, with actuality seeping in that they’re competing in opposition to a Cypriot outfit for a Europa League spot slightly than giving Tottenham Hotspur and Actual Madrid a run for his or her cash.
Up to now this season, BVB have fallen brief every time they confronted groups labelled as heavyweights. Madrid, Tottenham and Leipzig all have discovered the onion bag thrice in opposition to the Black and Yellows, elevating the query of whether or not Dortmund’s defence was too leaky in opposition to “massive” groups.
After the Westphalians made the assaults of Eintracht Frankfurt and Hannover 96 appear like world beaters up to now two weeks, the general stability of Bosz’s tactical method has come below huge scrutiny.
Frankfurt and Hannover nullified Dortmund’s build-up part with a heavy man-marking scheme whereas creating promising scoring alternatives by pinging the ball in behind the again line that’s pushing excessive up the sphere.
Throughout Friday’s information convention the 53-year-old coach admitted BVB’s torrid type additionally has to do with opponents turning into higher at studying them. “Now it is our flip to give you new concepts,” he mentioned.
It’s unlikely that Heynckes will arrange his Bayern facet to closely man-mark Dortmund’s midfielders to the identical extent as Frankfurt and Hannover, however it might simply be sufficient for his forwards to strain the centre-backs with a view to stymie BVB’s build-up and therefore achieve management on the Westfalenstadion.
Dortmund additionally must fear about Javi Martinez, who has been reinvigorated below Heynckes and appears like he’ll dominate the midfield together with his bodily presence paired with ball management.
In order ways go, the Black and Yellows must take a web page out of Leipzig’s ebook. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s workforce overwhelmed Bayern with strain in final week’s cup match and confirmed that the league leaders nonetheless have their very own frailties to resolve.
In any case, BVB have proven at the beginning of the season that they will wreak havoc with their very own urgent and counter-pressing, however it has to enhance by at the least 200 p.c in comparison with their previous six matches in the event that they need to stand an opportunity in opposition to probably the most pressing-resistant workforce within the league.
“You can not enter a match in opposition to Bayern with doubts in your head,” Bosz mentioned. “It’s worthwhile to play in opposition to them with braveness.”
However how can Dortmund muster the braveness after an October of nothing however setbacks?
Heads severely dropped after Nicosia had scored the equaliser on Wednesday evening, so Dortmund must pull themselves out of the swamp by their very own hairs it appears. As all the time, so much will depend upon the dynamic the match takes. A superb 15 minutes early on generally could make all of the distinction in confidence.
Clashes between direct rivals are sometimes described as “six-point affairs,” however for Bosz’s males, Saturday will flip into an “11-point affair” as that will be the obtrusive quantity of factors they are going to have given as much as their Southern rivals since Heynckes’ arrival in the event that they get pummeled. A six-point drawback for Dortmund within the desk would make their (at the least formally) non-existent title ambitions bleak as effectively.
On the flipside, Bosz and Nuri Sahin have mused because the newest draw to Nicosia that Bayern may come simply on the proper time to show their type round. A 1-Zero win would imply the lead within the desk and keep away from the “disaster” discuss from lingering all through the worldwide break.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.