Created on 05-04-2019 at 17:00 PM
It’s the record champions against the league leaders, Red-and-White against Black-and-Yellow – it’s the German Clásico. Fans from 205 countries will tune in on Saturday evening to see FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund contest the 100th Bundesliga Klassiker (kick-off 18:30 CEST, coverage available via our live ticker). A win at the Allianz Arena will see the Munich club retake top spot in the league and put them in pole position heading into the final six games of the season.
“Saturday’s game is hugely important. We all know what it’s about and what we have to do in both attack and defence to win this game. My requirement is always to win games, regardless of who we’re up against,” said FCB head coach Niko Kovac. “We want to come out in top in front of our fans. The team that wins has the advantage in the league so we need to win,” demanded sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.
The Bayern players are also aware of the importance of the game, even though everything is possible in the six other matches remaining before the end of the season. “If a team wins then they’re in the box seat. It’ll give an idea of things but won’t be decisive,” stressed Thomas Müller, who is “absolutely convinced” that FC Bayern will leave the Allianz Arena pitch victorious on Saturday.
A meeting of equals
“It’s the biggest game of the season, the whole of Germany is waiting for it,” said an excited Leon Goretzka ahead of the clash. “Of course we want to win the game, you join a club like this to play such matches. We’re all pumped for it,” the former Schalke man explained. The team will show “a different side to ourselves” compared to Wednesday’s DFB Cup game against Heidenheim. “I’m 100 per cent convinced we’ll put in a top performance.”
Despite twice taking the lead in the previous encounter five months ago, Bayern were beaten 3-2 in Dortmund. “The first half definitely belonged to us. It was really good, it was class. But then we didn’t manage to see the game out properly,” Kovac recalled during his press conference before demanding his team display the same first-half performance in both halves on Saturday. The 47-year-old is expecting an “interesting meeting of equals” and knows “the team that makes fewer mistakes will win”.
Kovac remains without injured trio Corentin Tolisso, Arjen Robben and Alphonso Davies. Captain Manuel Neuer and David Alaba, who have both missed the last two games against Freiburg and Heidenheim with niggles, both took part in training again on Friday. However, a decision on their ability to play will only be taken on the morning of the game.
Dortmund arrive in Munich without the injured Achraf Hakimi (broken metatarsal), Christian Pulisic (thigh) and Maximilian Philipp (knee), while there are also question marks over the fitness of defender Abdou Diallo and striker Paco Alcacer, who has 16 goals this season and is second only to Robert Lewandowski (19) in the league’s scoring chart. “We need a perfect performance if we want to win,” stated head coach Lucien Favre. Regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s game, BVB captain Marco Reus does not believe it will decide the title race: “I think it’ll remain exciting until the end.”