Bundesliga

Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund | Saturday 08 April | Allianz Arena | 18:30

Bayern Munich continued their seemingly comfortable stroll to a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title last weekend, maintaining a 13-point lead at the top of the table. The Bavarians have been beaten only once this entire campaign, drawing five and winning 20 matches. Dortmund – thought of as the closest rival to Bayern after challenging the champions last season – have been unable to keep up with mighty Munich. Dortmund are fourth, 18 points off the table-toppers and more concerned with staying in the Champions League than winning the championship.

Note: This article was written prior to the Bundesliga midweek fixtures On Tuesday 4 April and Wednesday 5 April.

To Win (90mins)
Bayern Munich 11/20
Draw 32/10
Borussia Dortmund 17/4

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich dispatched of struggling Augsburg with ease last weekend, winning 6-0 in a one-sided affair at Allianz Arena. Bundesliga joint top scorer Robert Lewandowski continued his red-hot form with a hat-trick, setting up two more goals for good measure. Lewandowski had scored 13 goals in 11 previous appearances against Augsburg and continued to run riot in the Bavarian derby. Thomas Muller scored in each half with Thiago Alcantara also netting just after the hour mark. Despite missing Manuel Neuer to injury – the first league match that the German goalkeeper has missed since April 2015 – replacement Sven Ulreich was relegated to a virtual bystander.

Carlo Ancelotti had urged his galaxy of stars to remain focussed on the task at hand with this massive clash looming on the horizon. Of even more importance is Bayern’s Champions League quarter-final with Real Madrid the following Wednesday, and the way that Ancelotti plays his hand in this fixture could have a bearing on the club’s European excursion. Although it won’t be uttered in Bavaria, Munich can afford to drop points in this fixture and Ancelotti could opt to rest some key figures. However, the pride that is at stake in contests such as this one may force the Italian to roll out his strongest side or risk a backlash from the Bayern faithful.

Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund dropped to fourth on the Bundesliga table after sharing the spoils with Schalke in the 150th Revierderby last weekend. Dortmund took the lead in the 1-1 draw but allowed their rivals to battle back and may come to rue the missed points with Hoffenheim going ahead of them on the table. Seven points clear of Hertha Berlin, Dortmund should claim their place among the Champions League finishers but if fourth, will be forced to contend tricky early-season qualification for the competition. Thomas Tuchel will undoubtedly wish to avoid the potential banana skin and that will start with doing everything possible to find a result against the defending champions.

Dortmund’s enigmatic frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang currently shares the top position on the scorer list with Bayern’s Lewandowski, his opener against Schalke his 24th goal in the league this season. A strong performance from Aubameyang will be crucial if Dortmund hope to leave the Allianz Arena with something to show for their efforts. However, similar to their opponents, Dortmund will also have one eye trained on their Champions League quarter-final tie with Monaco the following Tuesday. It’s a quick turnaround for Dortmund and manager Tuchel will be wary of in-form Monaco and the toll that this fixture will take on his young squad.

Probable line-ups:

Bayern Munich: 4-3-3
Ulreich; Lahm, Hummels, Boateng, Alaba; Alonso, Thiago, Vidal; Robben, Ribery, LewandowskI.

Borussia Dortmund: 3-4-2-1
Burki; Piszczek, Sokratis, Bartra; Passlack, Castro, Weigl, Schmelzer; Dembele, Reus; Aubameyang.

Prediction: Bayern Munich (11/20)
Bayern Munich’s only league loss this season came at the hands of Dortmund in the reverse fixture at Signal-Iduna-Park. Carlo Ancelotti will be determined to avenge the defeat and will likely name a full-strength side despite the looming Champions League fixture in midweek. Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund have been inconsistent this season with their form away from home an area of significant concern. They’ve won only four away matches in the Bundesliga this season, of which the opposition have all been inferior. My money’s on Bayern Munich to seal a tough home win.

Rick John Henry

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