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'Get stuck in from the start'

Flick demands 'best performance' in Dortmund game to stay top

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On Saturday evening, Bayern welcome Borussia Dortmund to the Allianz Arena in Germany’s most high-profile fixture (live text and free Webradio commentary from 12:30 pm ET on fcbayern.com). Although the record champions are some distance ahead of the Black and Yellows in the title race, there is no lack of spice to this latest edition of Der Klassiker. “We may be a few points ahead but Dortmund have the quality to be competing at the top,” said Joshua Kimmich in a recent interview, adding: “It’s a special game, I think for the fans too!” Get in the mood for the meeting with BVB with our preview:

After the 3-2 win in the Supercup and the same result in the first half of the season, this will be Bayern’s third encounter with BVB this season.

The situation for FC Bayern

The Bavarians have shown signs of being back at their dazzling best with a 4-1 win at Lazio in the Champions League followed by a 5-1 success at Köln in the league, but Hansi Flick’s side cannot afford to take their foot off the gas one bit. Nearest challengers RB Leipzig are just two points behind Bayern, and can overtake with a win at Freiburg on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re the league leaders and want to defend that lead. We’re going into the game wanting to beat Dortmund,” stated Flick. Der Klassiker is “something special, akin to a Champions League game”, remarked the 56-year-old, promising: “Every player is up for it!” In order to bag the three points against one of the “top teams in Germany”, his team must “produce a best performance” and “get stuck in from the start”.

See how the final training session before the clash with Dortmund went in the gallery:

The opponents: Borussia Dortmund

BVB have got over their dip in form and have some upward momentum behind them again. Along with two wins in the Bundesliga, they took a big step towards the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-2 win at Sevilla. Borussia also progressed to the semi-finals of the DFB Cup in midweek courtesy of a 1-0 victory at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Now the fifth-placed Black and Yellows want to get back on track in the league and back among the Champions League spots. “Both teams need the points in order to achieve their targets, so there’s plenty of tension to the match,” said Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc ahead of the match, in light of five successive league defeats for his side at the Allianz Arena.

Coach Edin Terzić has laid out his game plan to end that run: “We want to bring our courage and team spirit onto the pitch, and we have to accept that there’ll be periods when we have to grin and bear it,” he said. “But the important thing is that we do things that they can’t stop.”

Bayern vs. Dortmund – there’s hardly a fixture in recent Bundesliga history that has provided so many unforgettable moments:

The team news for Bayern vs. Dortmund

Benjamin Pavard is not yet in contention after returning from his coronavirus isolation during the week. “I can rule that out,” confirmed Flick on Friday. Also still sidelined are Corentin Tolisso (torn tendon), Tanguy Nianzou (rehab after muscle tear) and Douglas Costa, who is at least running again following his metatarsal fracture.

Dortmund are sweating over the fitness of wide players Jadon Sancho and Raphaël Guerreiro, who both limped off during Tuesday’s cup victory in Mönchengladbach. It will be “touch and go for both, but we’re not giving up hope”, revealed Terzić. Defender Manuel Akanji is still working his way back after a muscle strain, and “probably won’t make it for Saturday”, according to the 38-year-old.

Team news, tactics and more: You can watch Hansi Flick’s pre-match press conference in full here (with English translation):

What the coaches say

Hansi Flick: “Games against Dortmund are always special for us. The meetings in recent years have always been high-quality games. Dortmund have real quality, although they’re lagging behind a bit this season. But they’ve shown, especially in recent weeks, what quality they possess. It’s about producing our best performance. It’s important we take the game to an absolutely quality team.”

Edin Terzić (Borussia Dortmund coach): “It’s well known that Bayern Munich have incredible quality. They were the most successful team in the world last year, but we’ve shown in both games – in the Bundesliga and the Supercup – that we’ve got closer to them. The game was decided by fine margins.”

For more on the home match against Dortmund, brush up on the facts and figures:

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